This week's Forking column focuses on the perils of getting attached to the live animal you plan to serve for dinner. Now you can bring the fun and awkwardness of serving something with a face home for your next date with this recipe for crab legs.
Steaming crab legs: Add crab legs to rapid boiling water (fill pot with about 2inches with water.) I usually add a 1/4 cup of white wine for more flavor, this is optional. Cover tightly and steam thawed crab legs 5-7 minutes until heated through and through. Most frozen crab legs you buy at the grocery store are pre-cooked, make sure and ask the attendant at the counter. Pre-cooked crab legs can be eaten cold without cooking otherwise they just need heating without further cooking.
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Be careful, seafood has a low fat and high water content they can easily be overcooked. Too much steaming will toughen the flesh as it dries out and too much cooking when submerged in water will make the flesh soggy. You just want to steam them enough to warm the flesh up! I then drain and serve them immediately with lots of butter and fresh sliced lemon wedges. I also offer clarified butter and non-clarified butter. Some people like the more greasy/salty flavor of non-clarified butter.
To Clarify Butter: Melt 2 stick (½ lb.) butter under a medium-low heat in a fry pan then let it sit for a couple of minutes, then slowly pour out the clear butter (it will come out first from the frying pan) into a cup or small bowl and STOP pouring when you see the leftover white milky fat at the bottom of the pan (discard this part.) Serve in small ramekin or small bowls.
Some also serve the crab legs with nut crackers to crack open the tough shell of the crab legs. Using crab leg tools or a nut cracker is classy but I find that putting out several pairs of scissors works much better. Scissors can be tacky but it makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. I suggest putting both out and experimenting with your date! For success after the meal, serve with the leftover white wine!