There are many perks to living on the west coast. Being surrounded by breathtaking scenery, a part of a vibrant community, and of course, having easy access to fresh seafood every day! One of our favourites is a decadent crab dinner. Around here crab is easy to come by and if you know how it’s easy to prepare too.
If you’ve ever been for a cruise on the Ucluelet Harbour you’ll see the water’s surface dotted with floating buoys. These indicate crab traps. Crabs are in abundance in the Ucluelet Harbour and traps are not hard to find or to borrow. All you need is a trap, some bait, and a boat to drop and check it with....or you just need to have a friend who has all of the above!
First you will want to clean out the crab. This website gives you the instructions with a handy video for cleaning Dungeness crab, which is what we see the most of here in Ucluelet.
You can also buy freshly caught and cleaned crab in town, if you want to go that route.
Then it’s time to get cooking! In a large pot, boil your crab for 7 to 8 minutes per pound. It is suggested you cook and serve the crabs in halves. If you are cooking a large number of crabs start the timer when the water returns to a boil and base your number of minutes boiling on the average weigh of each individual crab, not the sum total. If you are unsure, round your time down as overcooked crab becomes rubbery.
Although crab boiled on its own turns out great, you can add some flavours to your boiling water. Try adding sea salt, a bay leaf, or any other whole spices you might want to use.
After 7 to 8 minutes remove your crab from the pot and rinse under water. Make sure to rinse off all the gross crab guts that may have oozed out while cooking.
Half a crab is usually a good serving size with sides, but you don’t have to stop there! Serve with a lemon wedge and a dish of melted garlic butter for dipping. Make sure you have a crab leg cracker or a slab of wood with a smashing rock!
It gets a little messy and there really isn’t a delicate way to eat crab. Don’t worry about the mess and just enjoy it. Remember, on the west coast there is plenty more where that came from!
The Gray Team