Dungeness Crab are a West Coast favorite at the dinner table. It’s not uncommon to find them at the dinner table at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It is a staple in Crab Cioppino another West Coast favorite. The popularity of Dungeness Crab is second to only King Crab. Dungeness Crab has a salty, briny flavor while the flavor of King Crab is sweeter. California has a robust commercial fishery.
In recent years, Dungeness Crab has been plagued by an outbreak of domoic acid resulting from a toxic bloom of algae. The algae bloom is caused by unusually warm water. The toxin is held in the viscera or guts of the crab. While many people like the “crab butter”, it is recommended that it be discarded when domoic acid is present. The best way to avoid consuming the toxin is to “split” or “half-back” the crab before cooking. This involves separating the meat from the guts before cooking. We alway split our crab and steam them instead of boiling. This virtually eliminates the risk of consuming the toxin and results in better flavor as the flavor is not washed out through boiling.
The Dugneness Crab season in Fort Bragg opens in November and continues through July, providing a long season and the opportunity for crab/fishing combos. For bait, we typically use squid and herring or anchovies in bait jars and salmon or other fish carcasses as hanging bait to keep the crab occupied, preventing them from trying to escape the pots. The pots or traps typically soak for a few hours to overnight. While females are legal to keep in California, we only keep males in order to preserve the fishery. In addition to the Dungeness Crab, we often catch Red Rock Crab. While not as large as Dungeness, they have large tasty claws.
Price: $80 per person. Up to 5 anglers.