One of my early memories as a young chef working on cruise ships I was eating piles of Alaskan king crab legs on board . Dipped in lots of melted butter and served with a lemon wedge I rarely used, it was tons of fun pulling big chunks of rich, luscious crab meat from those enormous legs. I grew up in Switzerland , where not much crab was available so the idea of gigantic crabs up to six feet long wandering around on the bottom of the ocean was both exotic and slightly scary. Eating these crabs was like traveling to a different world.
As I learned, it was a different world back then. Our family was not particularly into seafood , and I never remember king crab even being in the same class as Maine lobster. King crab was what you got when lobster was too expensive. If you look at the history of the Alaskan king crab fishery, you’ll know why: At precisely the same time I was enjoying mountains of king crab, the fishery was reaching the high-water mark of unsustainability: In 1981, fishermen hauled up 130 million pounds of kings. Two years later, the fishery collapsed.
It took years, but crab stocks did recover. Since then, king crab has been fished sustainably throughout Alaska. And while it will never be inexpensive again, it’s still one of the world’s great luxury foods. Rich, soft and briny, king crab is reminiscent more of lobster than of crab. The meat is also easy to extract and fills the shells, which gives you a good amount of meat per pound , unlike most other crabs.
King crab is best served simply. To do too much to it would be like stuffing caviar into a burrito. Steam it, grill it or even microwave it, and then choose a support player and enjoy. The classic is, was and always will be melted butter and lemon. It is a classic for a reason.
Well i saw a few live ones today 😝
As a consumer, you need to keep in mind two things: First, be certain to buy American crab. There is a lot of inexpensive Russian king crab on the market, and the reason it’s so cheap is because the Russians are destroying their fishery for a quick buck. American fishermen work under strict rules of sustainability, which is why U.S. crab is more expensive. We should reward them for playing fair.
The second thing you need to remember is that virtually all king crab is pre-cooked. It has to be, to preserve freshness. Alaskan king crab is cooked and blast frozen right in the harbor. If they did not, the giant crabs would die and rot within hours. This means that as a cook, you are really reheating king crab, not actually cooking it. So be gentle. I prefer to steam it for 5 minutes and call it a day. King crab really needs nothing else.
You could use olive oil instead of butter, but why would you want to?
1 Melt the butter in a small pan and keep warm on its lowest setting.
2 Set a steamer tray inside a large pot and pour enough water inside to steam the crab. Remember, you are only reheating the crab, so you will only need about an inch of water, tops. Bring this to a boil before laying the crab legs on the steamer. Cover the pot and steam for 5 minutes.
3 Remove the crab legs and use kitchen shears to cut the shells. You can either totally remove the meat from the shell or just get each one started for your guests. Serve with the melted butter.
By ; Chef Nicholas Anderson for www.culinaryglobetrotter.com
A signature dish of any good chef holds the potential to captivate the palate and fascinate the imagination. From the selected ingredients to the chef’s culinary zeal, it’s the inspiration that truly makes a signature dish unique and be well-loved by the most discerning guests.Every chef and cook has his or her signature dish. This is the dish, whether sweet or savory, that best represents the person who prepared it.