Author Notes: One of my favorite holiday foods -- while unorthodox to most of the country, but a substitute for turkey, roast beef or ham in San Francisco -- is the Dungeness crab. When winter roles around and I can't wait to get my hands on a few of these beauties. During the winter, I find many different applications for these sweet meaty crustaceans, but this dish is one of my favorites. This pasta is an homage to a classic New Orleans style dish - Shrimp Creole. The rich tomato sauce is flavored with Cajun-style spices and andouille sausage, adding heat to the dish and complementing the sweetness of the seafood. This dish can be made with or without the crab, depending on the season and the availability of crab. If you are substituting the crab, double the amount of shrimp in order to serve four people. - Constrained Cook
How to prepare the crabs
- 3 Dungeness crabs
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fill a deep pot until water level reaches ¼ of the pot. The crabs don’t need to be fully submerged, as the steam will also aid the cooking process. Add a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning to the water (optional, but recommended). Bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, pick up the crabs from the back and place them head first into the pot. Place the cover over the pot and cook the crabs for 18 minutes. Once finished, remove them from the pot and you have perfectly cooked, juicy crabmeat!
Cajun Crab and Shrimp Pasta Sauce
- 3 Dungeness crabs cooked and cleaned
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 diced small onion
- 1/2 small diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 small diced green pepper
- 1/2 diced fennel bulb
- 12 ounces canned tomatoes (San Marzano preferred)
- 2 cups crab stock or seafood stock if you used store-cooked crab
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 5 drops Tabasco
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large cloves of minced garlic
- Cook the crabs according to the directions above. If desired, substitute with store-bought steamed crabs.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a deep non-stick pan over medium heat. Place the diced andouille into the pan. Heat the sausage through and allow the fat to render.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the red bell pepper, green bell pepper and celery to the pan. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 - 8 minutes. Remove the vegetables and andouille from the pan onto a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Next, add the white wine to the pan and deglaze, scraping up all the brown bits.
- Add the canned tomatoes and stock. If you cooked the crabs at home, add 2 cups of the leftover cooking liquid. Otherwise, add 2 cups of store-bought seafood stock.
- Add the bay leaf, Old Bay seasoning, Tabasco and smoked paprika. Stir and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a new pan and add a clove of garlic. Once the oil is fragrant, add the shrimp to the pan and cook through, about 3 - 5 minutes.
- Add the andouille and vegetable to the simmering sauce. Heat the vegetables through, about 5 minutes. Then, add the shrimp and crab meat to the sauce. Toss lightly and spoon over bowls of pasta.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Seafood Pasta