Crabby Places

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I happen to be near San Francisco at the moment visiting my mom and brothers.  Whenever I am here, I immediately crave three things – sourdough bread, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, and Dungeness crab.  Sometimes one at a time, sometimes all at once.  I can never get enough.  Of course, I can get these items back home in Chicago, but they don’t taste the same.  What is it about the air here?

I am happy with a simple Crab Louis salad, but this cookbook has many more ideas for serving this irresistible crustacean.  While I am partial to Dungeness, I love all varieties.  But Dungeness is always equated with San Francisco to me.  If I close my eyes, I can smell the air of the crabs cooking on Fisherman’s Wharf and feel the warm steam on my face as I walk past Alioto’s or other places boiling the crabs.  Some people find that smelly and annoying; I find it exhilarating.  I am a little sad how commercialized the Fisherman’s Wharf area is, but they still have crabs, and I still have my past memories being there as a child.

The cookbook begins with a chapter on the basics, describing every type of crab available, how to buy it, how to clean it, and how to cook and crack it.  There is an entire chapter devoted to crab cakes, another one of my favorite ways to serve crab.  It continues with crab cocktails, soups, salads, casseroles, and luncheon and dinner fare.  Remember that crab is a culinary king that enjoys mingling with other flavors, but all by itself, it’s a feast for the tongue and soul.


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