Dungeness Crab Boil with Chardonnay Drawn Butter Recipe
Get your salt water ready. It’s time to boil. Dungeness crab season usually begins in Northern California in November and continues until June, but in recent years, fishermen have faced a series of setbacks and delays, from price wars in 2011 to algae blooms in 2015-2016. California’s seafood industry is facing a new normal.
To celebrate the arrival of the annual Dungeness crab season, I’m sharing my favorite recipe for wine lovers: boiled Dungeness crab and a tasty accompanying drawn butter made with Jordan Chardonnay. This easy recipe has become a Christmas Eve dinner tradition at my house. We like to do a crab boil because it requires minimal work, leaving us time to relax with our son and extended family. The flavor payload is off the charts, too.
DUNGENESS CRAB BOIL RECIPE
- 6 live Dungeness crabs
- 3 gallons of seawater or a seasoned equivalent
- 2 fennel fronds, roughly chopped
- 3 lemons, sliced
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 tbs. black peppercorns, crushed
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups of Jordan Chardonnay
- Have a large ice bath at the ready.
- In a stockpot, combine all aromatics, Chardonnay and water. Bring to a full boil.
- Carefully grasp crabs by the back legs and lower them into the boiling liquid. Cover and cook for 14 minutes.
- Remove and chill in ice bath.
- Separate the top shell or carapace— it comes off easily— then discard the gills and mouthparts before removing the abdominal flap at the rear.
- Reserve the crab butter: it makes for a great spread over sourdough crostini (Cognac and sel gris wouldn’t hurt).
- Split the crabs in two and crack with a mallet or the flat side of a heavy cleaver.
- Carefully pick and enjoy!
CHARDONNAY DRAWN BUTTER RECIPE
- ½ cup butter
- 2 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp. ancho chili powder
- 1 clove of elephant garlic, finely sliced
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- zest of one orange
- 4 sprigs of lemon thyme
- ½ cup of Jordan Chardonnay
- In a saucepan, combine butter, old bay, ancho, garlic, shallots, orange zest and thyme.
- Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Add the Chardonnay and continue to simmer for five minutes.
- Serve immediately. Yields one cup.