Magnificent Crab Leg Dinner
Recipe: Magnificent Crab Leg Dinner
This is an expensive entrée. It's one of those offerings that should probably be saved for a special occasion. It's easy enough to be served to a group at the holidays, but if the group is too large, you might have to consider a home equity loan to pay for it. JUMBO KING CRAB legs are about as long as a yard stick and up to two inches in diameter. You can get them frozen in town at the best fishmongers, but don't be surprised if they are in a locked cabinet. These monsters are hard to come by--and worth every penny. As you watch your guests roll their eyes in ecstasy, you'll know it was worth the investment. When you moan with joy at how easy it is to put this whole dinner together, you'll pat yourself on the back for choosing to "go for it."
Of course, this dish has to have "sides." We can't just serve crab legs. I dreamed up a "Creole Couscous" and a colorful Asian twist on the traditional coleslaw. Don't be afraid. The couscous and Asian Coleslaw balance each other quite well, and they both go great with the King Crab. Two out of three items can be made in advance, so you can entertain with ease. When you serve this dish it won't have a complicated presentation either. The majesty of the crab legs pretty much does the trick. Have plenty of napkins or even bibs ready.
One extra possible bonus could be the good luck that goes along with serving this meal. Tradition in some circles dictates that, if you serve lobster on New Year's Eve, you'll have luck throughout the year. Since these crab legs are just as expensive--if not even MORE expensive--than lobster, I think the same theory applies. Try it for yourself and see. If your dinner comes off without at hitch, at the very least you'll feel lucky for having the experience of eating it and sharing it with friends or family.
4 frozen Jumbo King Crab legs (do not thaw)
(They will probably be about 2 feet long including the claws.)
One big pot of boiling water
3 sticks of lightly salted butter
Leave your Jumbo King Crab legs in the freezer until ready to cook. Well, actually it's fun to take them out and wave them around to show them off. Then put them back until you're ready to cook. Get your water boiling. This takes time.
In the meantime, slowly melt your butter in a sauce pan. When the butter is fully melted, take a tight sieve or spoon and skim off the froth that has formed on top. Now you have that fancy clarified butter they serve in restaurants. Keep it warm.
When ready to cook, take the "Masters of Ceremony"--the crab legs--out of the freezer. Make sure you have a very sharp chef's blade or a meat cleaver. And be careful you haven't had too many cocktails or beers. This is precision work. You are going to cut each frozen crab leg into two pieces. They have to fit in the pot and on the plate (sort of). Hold the leg with one hand and tap the knife or blade so it barely cuts into the shell, and then push down or gently whack them on your cutting board. One whack should do it to cut each one. Just make sure you don't slip. Wear oven mitts if you are prone to accidents.
Put the crab legs in the full-boil water and cook them for 5 minutes. The legs are actually already cooked. You are just thawing and warming them. If they are too long to be immersed in your pot, carefully turn them over so the other part goes in the water for a few minutes. You'll be serving them with your butter.
Hints: You might want to invest in poultry shears. You've already got your investment in the crab legs so make your life easy. The blades on poultry shears are curved. They are used for cutting chicken bones and things like crab legs. You can use an oven mitt over the hand that will hold the crab leg and use your shears to quickly slice through the crab leg pieces. Or you can have fun passing the shears and watching your guests do their handiwork while they eat. It's slightly messy but it sure is fun.
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