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Dungeness Crab With Basil San Francisco-Style


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  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon store-bought garlic-herb seasoning (such as McCormick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 live dungeness crab - (abt 3 lbs) (or 4 live blue crabs)
  • Cornstarch for dusting
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or canned chicken broth)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves


Servings 4


Step 1

Stir the garlic, garlic-herb seasoning, garlic salt, pepper and sugar together in a small bowl until blended.

For the Dish: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Slip the crab(s) into the water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the crab(s), rinse under cold water, and drain again. If you like, pull off the top shell from the crab(s) in one piece and reserve for a garnish. (Invert top shell to remove organs and extra water.)

Remove and discard the lungs attached to the shell above the legs and the spongy parts under the shell. Twist off the claws and legs; crack them with a cleaver or mallet. Cut the body into 4 pieces (or in half, if using blue crabs) with a heavy chef's knife. Place the crab pieces into a colander and allow them to drain excess liquid. Dust the crab pieces with cornstarch to coat them lightly.

Pour enough oil into a wok to fill 3 inches. Heat over medium heat to 365 degrees. Deep-fry the crab, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pieces, until the shells change color, 2 to 3 minutes. Lift out the crab with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Spoon the oil from the wok into a heatproof container and return the wok to high heat. Add the butter and olive oil and swirl to coat the sides. Add the seasonings and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the fried crab and stir to coat. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering, cover the wok and simmer until the crab is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the basil and transfer the crab onto a serving platter. Spoon the sauce over the crab and serve hot.

This recipe yields 4 servings.

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