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VOL. 37 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 13, 2013

Take a crack at preparing king crab legs

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“Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your sea winds blowin’”…

Don and I decided to take a few days away over the Labor Day weekend and traveled down to Galveston, Texas. Both of us had been there during our younger days, but I’m talking “much” younger and neither one of us really remembered much about the area. Boy has it changed.

Well, the streets are the same. And a lot of the old homes are still there, but other than that, Galveston is certainly not the town Glen Campbell crooned about.

Actually, the song is not the same either. The country music song made popular by Glen Campbell in 1969 has been remade again – this time in a marketing campaign for the Texas beach town that inspired the song.

Anyway, we enjoyed our time there. It was hot, really hot, so if you were not in the pool or the ocean, then you were inside somewhere. We are not “pool people” to speak of, so we never made it poolside (there were no umbrellas at all). However, the beach was right outside our door, so we were there a time or two.

We did spend one day exploring the island by car. We took the ferry over to Point Bolivar and spent some time on Crystal Beach, then drove around snapping pictures of the lighthouse and other interesting places.

Landry’s Seafood Restaurant was right outside our hotel door, so one evening we strolled over for dinner. I had the Alaskan king crab legs, which were wonderful. But then, I love king crab legs.

These crab legs were huge and meaty. So big in fact, it made me stop and think about the men on “The Deadliest Catch,” and how they reel in those man-size crabs.

Boiled Crab Legs

While thawed crab legs can be steamed, grilled, and heated in the microwave, boiling is simple and efficient. The water gets into the shells, keeps the meat moist, and helps the meat heat through quickly.

Fill a large pot half to two-thirds full of cold tap water. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bring the water to boiling. Add crab legs to the boiling water, bending and tucking the legs so as much of the legs are covered as possible in water. Return the water to boiling.

Cook the legs, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes or until heated through, adjusting occasionally with long tongs to make sure they heat evenly. Using long tongs, remove the legs from the water. If desired, rinse legs; drain well. Serve.

I was reading recently that fishing the Alaskan waters for crabs is not quite as deadly as it was in the 1990s, with an average of 7.3 deaths a year. Now, thanks to new government rules, there has been only one death in the Alaskan crab fishery in the past six years.

However, that doesn’t make the show any less exciting. I love to watch it. They make good money, too. Crewmen can earn up to $15,000 per month, or between $20,000 and $50,000 or more over the course of a three-month season, according to the Alaska Fishing Employment Center.

I would rather sit in the comfort of my home, munching on king crab legs while watching “The Deadliest Catch” on the tube. Seems much easier. Less dangerous. And tastes much better.

So, what’s the recipe for today? King crab legs? Well, yes. Most of you know how to prepare crab legs (go to the restaurant, right?).

For those of you who haven’t ever had the pleasure, I have a few instructions for you. It is really quite simple.

If you want to try crab legs, the recipe I had last week for loaded baked potato casserole would go great with them. Toss a quick salad up and you have one great meal in no time at all. But it is a special meal. Not one you would want to share with all the kids on a weeknight.

Buying Crab Legs

Most crab legs are cooked and frozen on the fishing boat as soon as the crab is caught.

Look for thick legs: they will be meatiest and easiest to eat. Avoid those with a lot of ice crystals or that look like they have been frozen for too long.

King crab legs from the northern Pacific tend to be the largest and offer delicate, sweet meat tinged with a red color. King crab legs are usually more expensive.

Sweet, slightly salty snow crab has white meat with a pinkish hue and hails from the northern Pacific and Canada’s east coast.

Plan on one 4- to 8-ounce crab leg per serving.

Plan ahead when buying crab legs because the best way to thaw them is covered in the refrigerator overnight. You can also put the frozen legs in a colander and run cool water over them to thaw quickly.

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