King Crab and Browned Butter

Posted by johngl

As I was wandering the aisles at Costco, looking for any last vestiges of the 2005 Cameron Hughes Meritage Lot 72 (a very fine small lot of wine, I must say), I noticed the fish guy bringing out cases of king crab legs.  I think my knees went a little weak at the site.

You see, the delicate sweet flesh of these crab legs is one of my major weaknesses.  All one needs to do is warm them up, cut off the shells, and brown a bit of butter.  Dunk and eat.  That is it.

I also like the knuckles.  Why?  Knuckles contain a lot of meat and are attached to the crab thighs.  Well, if they had thighs, the knuckles would be attached.  A picture might help…

Those big white things on the ends are the knuckles. The brown stuff in the bowl is browned butter.

So, johngl, how do you make the browned butter?

Thank you for asking.

Start with a stick of butter and melt it on medium heat.

Notice that white foam?  Well, that happens as moisture in the butter burns off.  After a few minutes, the milk solids start to brown up and sink to the bottom.

So now what?  Well, if you pour this through a fine mesh strainer, all those browned milk solids get captured and the browned butter slides right on through.

Would I lie to you?

Anyway, now you have more browned butter than two people could want in one sitting.  Time for crab.

I know what is on your mind.  How did you get that out of the legs in one piece?

Those curved skinny-bladed scissors on the left are ones of modern man’s greatest inventions.  With the arch turned upward, these make cutting through crab leg shells a snap.  Keep the shells and make some crab stock out of them.  It is wonderful in a crab bisque!

Just dunk and bite.  Oh yeah, now we’re talking.  Savor that sweetness, the tenderness, and the nuttiness of the butter.

Oh, I suppose I should tell you how to heat these up.  This is one of the times the microwave does a great job.  I start with a two minute burst on half-power.  It thaws out the legs quickly and excess moisture drains away.  After two minutes, pour off any excess water that came out of the legs, and zap them again for about a minute at half power.  This should finish the heating process.  These are already cooked, so all you really need to do is warm them through.

Now, just pick the knuckles clean.  There is a LOT of meat in these things, but you need to use a fork to dip it (well, if you don’t want to eat caveman style and get your fingers all buttery).

With the leg meat, it is just better to eat it with your fingers.  The flesh almost melts in your mouth.  It’s just so-o-o good.

This is Nature’s best finger food.  I can imagine the native Alaskans dipping these babies in melted seal fat or whale blubber.

Don’t let it pass you by just because it’s a little messy to get at it.  So, the next time you wander by the seafood case at your local grocer, give the crab legs a second look.  I prefer the king, but snow crab legs run a close second.

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About johngl

A bit of a wildman, John hails from the Midwest: A land of corn, cows, pigs, and a host of other healthfully meaty pursuits. Born on a dark and stormy night in late Fall, John grew up as the son of a meat cutter. There was always plenty of meat at hand. While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, his family certainly ate well. According to his father, that was the whole point.

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