It’s crab season here in the Chesapeake Bay region, where we cover our tables with sheets of butcher’s paper and Old Bay is king all summer long. Whether you pick your crabs up from the waterfront fish markets in southwest DC or jump right into the Bay like my father and me, here’s a recipe to have seafood lovers licking their lips all day long: Spaghetti ai Granchi, or spaghetti with crab.
First clean the fresh uncooked crabs by removing the shells and washing them thoroughly — you’ll do this when they are really cold (either by storing them on ice or refrigerating them), which makes them dormant and easier to work with — then set them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to get to business. I like leaving the tomalley — that’s the greenish goo, otherwise known as the crab’s liver and considered a delicacy, that you’ll find on the inside of the crab once you remove the shells — but this is not everyone’s style.
Start a basic marinara sauce with some olive oil, chopped onion, maybe some hot pepper, a mouthful of white wine, and some fresh crushed tomatoes. When the sauce is simmering nicely, add the crabs and let that cook uncovered on low heat for at least thirty to forty-five minutes. Add a little more water or wine if the sauce is starting to get too thick and then add salt and pepper to taste. Once you’re ready, move the crabs to a serving platter and cook your spaghetti until it is just al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to your sauce with a fistful of fresh parsley and serve with the crabs or as two separate courses.
A delicious alternative to our usual Old Bay steamers! Click here to learn more about crabbing and fishing in our area.