Crab legs are a seafood lover’s delight, and they are surprisingly simple to prepare at home. If you’ve only ever had crab legs in restaurants, try the following recipe for a gourmet-quality meal.
Step One: Choose Your Crab Legs
If you shop at a grocery store, you’ll most likely be able to choose between two types of crabs: snow crabs and king crabs. The former is smaller and the legs are usually sold in bunches, while the latter are large and each leg is sold individually. The most important consideration when shopping for crab legs, however, is freshness. If you don’t have access to fresh seafood at home, you can always have crab legs delivered overnight from a reliable source. If you’re not sure how much you need, try one pound per person.
Step Two: Thaw The Crab Legs
If you purchase frozen crab legs, you’ll need to thaw them before cooking. The best method is to leave them in a container in the refrigerator overnight and cook them the next day. You can also thaw them more quickly by placing them in a leak-proof plastic bag and holding it under cold running water. However, seafood should never be thawed at room temperature as this increases the risk of food poisoning. These food safety guidelines apply to crab legs as well as other perishable foods.
Step Three: Cook The Crab Legs
There are many different ways to cook crab legs, and none of them is difficult. For maximum speed and simplicity, choose to boil, steaming, or broiling. Baking, grilling, and slow cooking are other more time-consuming methods that also yield flavorful results. Whichever method you use, make sure to let the crab legs cool for a few minutes before serving them.
To boil crab legs, bring a stock pot or Dutch oven filled with salted water to boil and then add the crab legs with a pair of tongs. Reduce the heat to a low setting and cook for five minutes.
To steam crab legs, fill a steamer pot with just enough water that the water doesn’t quite reach the bottom of the steamer basket or rack. Place the crab legs in the basket or on the rack, cover the pot, and cook for 5-7 minutes.
To boil crab legs, place them on a baking sheet or in a large shallow baking pan and brush them with melted butter. Adjust an oven rack to 6 inches below the top of the oven and put the pan of crab legs on the rack. Broil for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping the crab legs halfway through.
Step Four: Make A Dipping Sauce
It doesn’t take much to bring out the flavor of crab legs. Many people simply melt butter to dip crab legs in. You can also cook finely chopped or pressed garlic in the butter until the garlic is soft and aromatic. Other common additions include a few drops of hot sauce, lemon juice, dill, and/or any seafood seasoning mix. Traditional cocktail sauce is also a delicious condiment with crab legs.
By following these simple steps, you can create a gourmet meal in your home for much less than you would pay in a restaurant. Moreover, you will spend very little time cooking crab legs, which gives you more time to relax and enjoy your meal.