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January 2007

How To Cook King Crab And Alaskan Crab Legs

Author: Chef George Krumov


The red king crab is the most commercially available and the most prized for its meat. Sometimes a less popular crab species, the blue king crab, is passed as red king crab because it tastes and looks similar when cooked. The red king crab is caught mostly in Alaska (also known as Alaskan king crab), Russia and the European Arctic. The king crab is a large crustacean, it can reach a leg span of 6 ft. The crab legs are the most valued part of the crab for its delicious meat.

In order to extract the cooked meat from the shells, you will need some special utensils, such as these from the picture below: a cracker to crack the shells and a splitter combined with a long spoon.

How to cook Alaskan king crab legs

The majority of Alaskan crab legs are sold already cooked and flash frozen. The bright red-orange colour of the shells represents cooked crab legs. There are many different ways to serve the crab legs and most of them involve dropping them in boiling water for several minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, flavour the water with a wedge of lemon, small bunch of parsley, maybe a little white wine or some tarragon, fennel or something else and drop the frozen crab legs in the pot. Boil them until the meat inside is tender, usually about 5-6 minutes. Serve the Alaskan crab legs with clarified butter or lemon-butter, some steamed vegetables, boiled corn on the cob or some other side. You can easily make clarified butter at home by heating it slowly in a small pan until all the solids in the butter fall on the bottom of the pan, and then removing the solids leaving only the pure fat.

Other methods to prepare crab legs include steaming, oven baking and grilling. If you cook whole fresh king crab, the cooking or steaming time will be about 25-30 minutes.

Crab legs can also be served cold, thawed and mixed with salads, mixed into cold pasta salads or made into dips such as crab and artichoke dip.

With its sweet flavour and rich, tender texture king crab legs will give an elegant image and a great fine dining experience for you and your guests.

Chef George Krumov
About the author: George Krumov is a Red Seal certified chef with many years of culinary experience working around the world in Europe, the Middle East, the cruise line industry and North America. In the last two decades he has headed the kitchens of several restaurants in Canada, and ran his own restaurant.

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