At one extreme preparing Alaskan King Crab is very simple. You buy it frozen from the superstore, defrost in the fridge and plunge into boiling water for five minutes to reheat.
The bulk of Alaskan Crab consumed in North America is pre-cooked and frozen, a practice that would not be tolerated by seafood eaters in the rest of the world. Where the emphasis is on buying shellfish such as Crab or Lobster. Fresh shellfish does not benefit from being frozen – moisture, texture and flavour will all be reduced. You could ask yourself why is it pre-cooked and available frozen? Is it to maintain freshness? No, how can freezing preserve freshness. Is it because when landed the Crab are in a precarious state of life, if alive at all? Most forms of Crab do not take kindly to being disturbed from their natural habitat, and are not good travellers, especially in tightly confined spaces. At best a large proportion will be struggling for life and some will have died, cooking and freezing at the landing point is the only salvation.
When it is stated that king Crab has the best flavour in the world, a fact that many people around the world would dispute, why freeze the Crab? Buy it freshly and cook it right away. If fresh supplies do not exist, then try another form of fresh seafood, there are over 20,000 species in the world, so something else will available.
Your store or market might have holding tanks to keep the Crabs alive, if not make certain that the Crab shows some sign of life and was recently caught, and has no undesirable smell. If you are only interested in the legs and not the body then break them into even sized manageable pieces.
They can now be cooked in a various ways. In unsalted water, boil the legs for around six minutes if of medium size, or steam for the same length of time. Any flavourings added to the boiling water, such as sea salt will only distract from the natural flavour of the crab. To grill coat the legs in vegetable oil and under high heat grill for around eight minutes, turning over once. To bake place in a baking tray with 1 cm of hot water and several squeezed lemons, cover and at 180 degrees Celsius bake for ten minutes. Crack open and enjoy with whatever dip that you choose. However as with most things in life there are alternative ways to cook and serve a food ingredient such as Crab. Do not just rely upon the same old tried and tested ways, but some variety into your life.
Crab Cakes – with any remaining Crab legs make a simple nibble that you can bring out and quickly fry when unexpected guests arrive. For 30 cakes you will need 350 g Crab meat, 650 g uncooked Prawns, shelled and de-veined, 1 tablespoon of red curry paste, an egg, 2 spring onions, 2 tablespoon of coriander and lemon grass, 1 chilli. Blend the ingredients and form into thin circular disks. When needed fry in a lightly oil covered shallow pan until golden and serve with a dipping sauce. Pan fry from frozen.