Roasted Dungeness crab slathered with butter and olive oil and perfumed with thyme and garlic is one of chef Ray Tang?s specialties, a dish that was popular at the exquisite little Mariposa restaurant he and his wife, Shawn Kearny Tang, ran in Windsor until 2002. The dish will enjoy a prime spot on the menu of the couple?s new eatery currently in development, the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco. If you can roast your crab in a hot wood-burning oven as Tang often does, it will be even tastier, especially on a cold winter day.
Serves 2 to 4
2 large Dungeness crabs, cooked
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch red pepper flakes
12 whole garlic cloves
Fresh thyme sprigs
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 lemon, cut in wedges
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Clean the crab, leaving the legs intact. Cut both crabs in half, cutting down the center of the body shell.
Using a heavy sharp knife, cut the crab in sections perpendicular to the body, so that a section of the body is attached to each leg. Put the crab into a large bowl, add the melted butter, olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and toss gently.
Set a cast iron skillet over high heat until it is very hot. Carefully tip the crab, garlic, thyme and all the juices into the pan. Using a heavy pot holder, transfer the pan to the center rack of the oven and roast until the crab is sizzling hot, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, with the lemon wedges alongside.