Oh, honey, you might never eat a boiled crab again after you sample these finger-licking-good delicacies that come from the brackish waters down the bayou. (Of course, any blue crab will work just as well.)
~ INGREDIENTS ~
9 Medium Blue Crabs*
1 Stick of Butter – The Real Thing
1 Onion – Medium to Large, chopped fine
Granulated Sugar – 1 Tbsp.
Oyster Sauce – 3 Tbsp.
A big wok and a burner
French Bread for sopping up the sauce
~ THE METHOD ~
Place the biggest wok you can find on your outdoor burner, preferably one where you can keep the heat at a medium level. (I guess you could do this indoors on the stove, but we love cooking outside in this temperate weather!)
Add one stick of butter, and as it begins to melt, add the chopped onion. While stirring, add the Oyster Sauce, and then add the sugar. Once that butter has melted and the onions are translucent, add the whole crabs to the wok. Then crack black pepper over the top of them.
Using a big utensil like a wok shovel or wire skimmer, move the crabs around the wok so that every side and claw is exposed to the heat. Make sure and continue to scoop up some of the onion-butter sauce with them. The onions will caramelize and eventually stick to the crabs, creating the finger-licking goodness.
At this point, if the onions start to brown too quickly, turn the heat down a little, as we don’t want to burn them.
When the crabs are done, there should be no sign of blue anywhere on them, including the claws.
The cooking process takes about 15 minutes. Dump the crabs and sauce into a big serving pan or platter, making sure to scrape all the sauce and caramelized onions into the pan. We used French Bread to sop up the remaining sauce and onions from bottom of serving pan.
Toss every table manner your mamma ever taught you right out the window and enjoy, because there is no neat and clean way to eat these crabs. Your fingers and face will most likely be shamefully slathered in buttery caramelized goodness, but the flavor is so divine, nobody cares!
I apologize for photo quality. When my friend J.G. invited me over for what she called “Brewster Key Crabs”, I was so tired from the day’s work that I forgot to bring my real camera. These are taken with an I-phone, and I’m just not that steady-handed, but I think you get the idea.
Here’s the back story: The name Brewster Key Crabs comes from the name of the street on which J. G.’s niece lives. Her niece ate these crabs at an Asian restaurant years ago, and when the recipe showed up in a cooking magazine, she snatched it up and has been preparing these at her place down in Galveston ever since. Since she was down the bayou for a visit, it was high time some local blue crab were put to the recipe test. And wow, did they pass! She generously shared the recipe with us, and I can honestly tell you, these crabs are so delicious that I might not ever settle for a plain boiled crab again.
Well, I’m off to shop online for the biggest wok I can find. If you only have a smaller, stove-top version, you can crack the crabs in half and do two batches, which is what we had to do and it worked just fine.
*To clean the crabs for this recipe, scrub the whole crab clean with a little brush, especially the claws. Then, remove the shell and dispose. Lastly remove the private parts, filters and other junk you don’t eat on a boiled crab. Place cleaned crabs in a pan to await the wok.