Recipe: Grilled Dungeness crab

Recipe: Dungeness crab
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Grilled Dungeness crab

Total time: 20 minutes, plus marinating time

Serves: 4 to 6 as appetizer, 2 to 4 as main course

2 cooked whole Dungeness crabs


2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2/3 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped green onion (green parts only)

1/3 cup olive oil

1. Clean and crack the crabs, keeping the legs attached to their respective body segments. Using the back of a heavy knife, crack the shell of each leg joint (without breaking them into pieces) to allow the marinade to penetrate. Place in a large mixing bowl.

2. In a mortar and pestle, grind the fennel seed, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns and salt to a powder (some of the spice pieces will stay more intact). Add the parsley and the green onion and grind to a coarse pulp. Add the olive oil a little at a time until you have a wet, sticky sludge.

Alternatively, you can grind the fennel seed, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns, salt, parsley and green onions in a blender, and then slowly add the olive oil with the blender running until you have the right texture.

3. Pour the herb mixture over the crabs and mix with your hands, making sure each piece is coated evenly. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the crab to marinate.

4. Start a hot fire in the grill. Empty the mixing bowl onto the grill and use tongs or a large spatula to distribute the crab pieces in a single layer. Every 2 to 3 minutes, use the tongs or spatula to scoop and turn the crab pieces. The crab is grilled with you see traces of scorching on the shell and some of the herb mixture has blackened, 6 to 7 minutes.

Alternatively, spread the crab out onto a rimmed baking sheet and broil until the shell is lightly scorched and some of the herb mixture has blackened, 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Serve immediately.

Each of 4 servings: 239 calories; 15 grams protein; 3 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 19 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 48 mg cholesterol; 0 sugar; 1,088 mg sodium.