Crab Slathered with Ginger Garlic Sauce

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Feeds 3 generously

Recipe by Jen


  • 2 cooked Dungeness crabs (about 1.5lbs each*)
  • 1T veg oil
  • 3T chopped shallots
  • 1T minced ginger
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 2 scallions, white part minced, green parts sliced thinly on the bias
  • 1/2C unoaked dry white wine
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2tsp fine sea salt or 1tsp Kosher salt
  • 12 oz dried spaghetti


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start a large pot of salted water boiling for pasta. Prep crab by removing the apron, the face and the carapace (back shell). Remove gills, rinse tomalley out of body and break each crab in half. If you cooked the crabs yourself (see below), then feel free to keep the crab butter & tomalley – you can add it to the sauce right at the end.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the oil, shallots, garlic, and ginger. Turn on the heat to medium. Cook until garlic just begins to stick to bottom of pan, but don’t let it brown. Add minced white part of scallions and the white wine. Simmer 2-3 minutes until wine has reduced slightly. Reduce the heat to low. Add the butter a cube at a time, stirring/swirling constantly until the butter has melted and sauce is creamy. Remove sauce from the heat.
  3. Put crabs in a roasting pan. Pour 1/2 of the butter sauce over crabs. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
  4. While crabs are roasting, add spaghetti to boiling water to cook.
  5. After 20 mins, remove the crab from oven and place on a warm plate. Pour 1/2 the pan juices into the reserved butter sauce. Stir sauce to combine and rewarm over very low heat.
  6. Once the pasta is al dente, drain the spaghetti and add it to the roasting pan along with the green scallion tops and toss to combine with the remaining pan juices. Divide the pasta among warmed bowls. Top each serving of pasta with 1/2 a crab.
  7. Serve with the remaining butter sauce for dipping and a simple green salad.
  8. Nice with Prosecco or a dry Reisling.

Cooking Live Dungeness Crab:

NOTE: If you are going to make slathered crab, I suggest reducing your cooking time to 10 minutes, taking into account that it will be going into the oven. Let the crab cool until you can handle it (there will still be very hot liquid inside, so be careful), then break it down as described above.

  1. Most Dungeness are 1.5#. You can buy them live and cook them yourself if you are feeling bold.
  2. Make a cooking liquid. You can go with a rough Court Bouillon (fancy name for crab cooking liquid), or just use well salted water.
  3. A casual Court Bouillon: Fill a pasta pot 2/3rds of the way with water (see: displacement). Cut a lemon in half. Squeeze in the juice, then drop in the lemon halves. Cut an onion in half, peel it and toss it in. Add in 2-3T of Old Bay OR a few bay leaves. Throw in some peppercorns (10?). If you have some fresh fennel tops, throw them in. Now add enough kosher salt so that the mixture is just saltier than you would want your soup to taste. If you are missing an ingredient or two, don’t fret. Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover it and simmer for 20 minutes. If a lot of water has boiled away, top it back off so it’s about 2/3 full again.
  4. Don’t want to bother with the Court Bouillon? No big deal. Fill up your pasta pot 2/3 of the way full and add enough kosher salt so that the mixture tastes just saltier than you would want your soup to taste.
  5. Yes, you need to taste this liquid to see if it’s seasoned properly. Yes, you are tasting salt water.
  6. Grab your live crab from the back (so it can’t grab you back), and put it into the pot face/head first – this is the quickest way to kill it. Start your timer for 13 minutes*. As soon as the timer goes off, remove your crab from the water with tongs &/or a spider. Once it is cool enough to touch, you are ready to feast!