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Simple Boiled Crabs with Garlic-Vermouth Butter

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Linda Hirst
Prep time 15 mins
Chill time 30 mins
Cook time 30 mins
Yield Makes 2 servings


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil, parsley, or chives
  • 1 tablespoon vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup seafood seasoning
  • 2 live Dungeness crabs or 6 live blue crabs

How to Make It

  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a small pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until butter melts. Keep warm.

  2. Combine 6 quarts water, vinegar, and next 3 ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat.

  3. While water is heating, set crabs on a rimmed baking sheet or tray, and put in freezer. (This makes handling the crabs easier--they should be well chilled but not frozen; don't leave them in freezer more than 30 minutes.) When water has come to a rolling boil, grab each crab securely at the back of its shell, and gently but swiftly drop it headfirst into the boiling water.

  4. Cover pot, and return water to a boil. Cook Dungeness crabs 18 to 20 minutes and blue crabs 5 minutes. Drain, clean, and serve with warm butter sauce.