When friends come from out of town to visit, I like to give them the opportunity to feel awkward, get dirty, and maybe even impale themselves on a sharp object. I feed them crab. A fresh-caught mess of Dungeness crabs in the shell offers all these advantages, not to mention the reward of sweet, succulent meat that is as much a feature of the West Coast as the blue crab is of the East—only better.
The setup is simple. Newspaper on table, boiled crab on newspaper, beer in hand. There was a time when I melted sticks of butter and left a can of Old Bay out, but I’m over such garish additives now. Crab wants to be eaten neat.
My approach to this time-honored Puget Sound ritual is a little different from most. For one thing, I don’t own a boat. I don’t even have a crab pot. No, I get in the cold cold water—on the crab’s turf. A wetsuit and snorkel are my crab-catching accoutrements. But don’t be fooled. While neoprene gloves may seem safe to the uninitiated, woe to the blasé crab-catcher who allows a careless pinkie to stray into the pinchers of an angry Dungeness…
It’s crab season. For now I’m stock-piling crabs in the freezer, but I’ll post some recipes soon.