Finally the god of crabs has smiled upon us. We went over to Monkey Mia yesterday and fished for a while to catch some butter fish for our crab nets, then threw them out and prayed. We took along 8 nets and I reckon we did about three rounds of them to come home with 7 good size crabs. I’ve never (ever) thrown back so many undersized crabs, and not a girl or small shark in the nets either! Three years ago, we couldn’t catch a crab out there to save ourselves so it was really heartening to see some around.
Today we went out again and came home with 9. I reckon I threw back 20 legal size ones, but I hate picking small crabs and legal size is still a small crab in my opinion. I sit at the pointy end of the boat and deal with the nets so I say “yeah” or “nay” as to whether we keep them or not. Yesterday was cold and a bit windy with a small a chop, so I copped a soaking bringing the nets in; today was perfect, and so still I could see the crabs in the nets 4 metres down.
Last night we saved 4 of the biggest crabs for our dinner tonight in case today’s crabbing was a failure.
The crab recipe I’m posting has been one of our favourites since finding it on line years ago. I think the original was written for those big frozen Alaskan King Crab legs you can buy, but I make it using the blue swimmers we catch. I either save all the biggest claws or halve or quarter smaller crabs. The fresh parsley (the original asked for dried) and chilli are my inclusions.
If you’ve never baked a crab, try it-it really intensifies the natural sweetness of the crabs. Make sure you have some good rustic bread to mop up all the yummy garlic butter, and serve with a simple salad to offset the richness of the crabs. Due to the artery clogging goodness of these, we only eat very occasionally, so they’re really special to us.
Oven Baked Crabs in Garlic Butter
- A couple of crabs each (really depends on crab size and your appetite), quartered, or crab claws, lightly cracked
- 125g butter
- 1/2 head of garlic, (5 or 6 cloves), crushed
- 1 chilli, minced,or could use dried flakes (and to taste whatever you use!)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- sea salt
- First catch your crabs!
- Preheat your oven to 190 degrees.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and chilli, saute lightly. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon and lime.
- Hold on a low heat letting the flavours meld while your oven heats. Add salt to taste and a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh parsley. Whisk in the olive oil and remove from the heat
- Arrange the crabs in a baking dish, brushing each leg with the sauce. Pour any remaining sauce over them.
- Bake crabs for about 20 minutes or so (depending on how thick the quarters/claws you have are), brushing the sauce from the bottom of the pan onto the legs every 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven. Scatter over more fresh parsley.
- Serve the crabs in the baking dish so you can dip bread and crab meat into the pan juices.