Make Ahead

Cracked Crab with Three Dipping Sauces

October  4, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Olaiya Land | Milly's Kitchen
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

Cracked Crab with 3 Sauces. Delicious, luxurious and super easy! Perfect for Christmas or New Year's Eve with friends! —Olaiya Land | Milly's Kitchen

What You'll Need
  • Cracked Crab with Three Sauces
  • 6 Dungeness crab, 2-2 ½ lbs each
  • 1 recipe Sauce Verte (see below)
  • 1 recipe Spicy Smoked Paprika Aioli (see below)
  • 1 recipe Drawn Butter (see below)
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • Several pounds of ice
  • Three Sauces - Sauce Verte, Drawn Butter, and Spicy Smoked Paprika Aioli
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) high quality salted butter
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane or minced
  • 1-3 teaspoons lemon juice, depending on whether your mayo already has lemon or vinegar in it
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • pinch fine grain sea salt
  1. Cracked Crab with Three Sauces
  2. NOTES: -- If you would rather not cook live crab, you might be able to sweet talk your fishmonger into killing and cleaning it for you in the shop. Take it home and cook it immediately as the meat deteriorates quickly. Of course, you can always buy pre-cooked and cleaned crab from the store, but it's never as delicious as freshly-cooked. -- Some people serve whole crab and have their guests clean them at the table. I find this a little off-putting (read: gross) for those who are not die-hard crab lovers and seafood aficionados. I prefer to clean the crab and remove the innards before serving. -- The crab can be cooked up to 6 hours in advance. Store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it.
  3. Heat a large pot of generously salted water over high heat. If you do not have an extremely large pot, you will need to cook the crab in batches.
  4. While the water is heating, fill a large bowl or pot (or a clean sink) with ice. If you are cooking the crab in batches, be sure to save some of the ice for the rest of the crab.
  5. When the water comes to the boil, place as many crab as will fit in the pot. Be sure they are completely submerged. Bring back to the boil and cook for 15 minutes. Transfer the crab to the ice and cover with cold water. This will stop the cooking. Once completely cold, remove the crab from the ice water. Clean the crabs if you didn’t have your fishmonger do it. Dry thoroughly and store in the refrigerator if not serving immediately.
  6. If you want to eat your crab cold (like we do), just take it out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes before you plan to serve it to let it warm up a bit.
  7. If you want to eat it hot, steam the crab for 5-10 minutes just before serving. The time will vary depending on how large your crabs are and how cold they are when they go in the pot. Taste the meat often as you steam the crab to be sure you don’t overcook it.
  8. Serve crab accompanied by sauces and lemon wedges.
  1. Three Sauces - Sauce Verte, Drawn Butter, and Spicy Smoked Paprika Aioli
  2. SAUCE VERTE. Makes about 1 cup.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Transfer to small bowls and serve alongside the crab. This sauce doesn't hold particularly well, so I recommend making it no more than an hour or two before you intend to serve it.
  4. DRAWN BUTTER. Makes about 3/4 cup.
  5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, the butter will foam. Skim the foam then pour the butter into a clear heatproof container like a Pyrex measuring cup.
  6. Wait for the milk solids to fall to the bottom then carefully pour off the liquid butter, leaving the solids behind. You can use cheesecloth if you want your drawn butter to be extra clear. I usually don’t fuss with the extra step since it wastes some of the butter.
  7. Heat the drawn butter in a small saucepan just before serving. Transfer to small serving bowls and serve alongside the crab.
  8. SPICY SMOKED PAPRIKA AIOLI. Makes about 1 cup.
  9. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Transfer to small bowls and serve alongside the crab.
  10. This aioli can be made up to 2 days in advance and will get spicier as it sits. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

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