Justin Wangler, Executive Chef at Jackson Family Wines, makes this recipe for boiled, cracked crab at home, alongside a chili sauce and the traditional melted butter. “It’s just a nice, Sonoma County wintertime meal,” he says. “Sharing it with friends spreads the work around, and you can all crack it together and drink wine and have fun.” The sweetness of the crab, especially when dipped in butter, goes perfectly with the rich texture of the Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay. “That’s a no-brainer,” he says. Wangler prefers to start with live crab — the fresher the better.
“You want to make sure they are feisty and moving around,” he says. “You don’t want one that’s slow.” When serving the crab, he uses Joyce Chenscissors to cut through the shells, for easier eating.
Kendall-Jackson Cracked Dungeness Crab
Makes 4 servings
2½ gallons water
4 stalks celery, large dice
2 carrots, large dice
1 onion, large dice
1 fennel bulb
1 bay leaf ¼ bunch parsley
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups white wine
2 lemons, halved
1 cup white vinegar
3 (1½-pound) Dungeness crabs In a large stock pot, add water, vegetables, bay leaf, parsley and salt and bring to a rolling boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the wine, lemons and white vinegar; cook for 10 minutes. Add the crabs, return to a boil and cook for 13-15 minutes. Carefully remove the crabs from the stock pot and shock in an ice water bath. If serving the crabs warm, skip the ice water bath and serve with melted butter.
Josh Silvers of Jackson’s Bar & Oven in Santa Rosa makes a homemade chili sauce for dipping crab that can also be upcycled into a Crab Louie Salad dressing. “For the salad, you get butter lettuce and build it up with tomatoes, hard-cooked egg and crab meat,” he says. “Then just spoon the dressing over it.”
Makes 1 cup
1 14.5-ounce can whole tomatoes
2-inch piece of horseradish, peeled and grated ⅓ cup sugar ⅓ cup champagne vinegar
Pinch of salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Put the first five ingredients in a heavy-bottom pan and reduce until thick. Add the lemon juice and blend together.
Josh’s Crab Louie Dressing
Makes 3 cups
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup homemade chili sauce (see above)
1 cup heavy cream ½ ounce brandy
Handful of chopped parsley Salt and pepper to taste
Mix relish, mayonnaise and chili sauce in a bowl.
Whip cream with brandy until it forms soft peaks.
Combine whipped cream with the mayonnaise mixture, chopped parsley and salt and pepper.