Posts Tagged ‘crab’

Since eating fresh Dungeness crab from Fisherman’s Wharf this weekend, I’ve been thinking of little of else—dreaming of wandering along the Embarcadero back to the crab and chowder stalls. But I haven’t had the time, so instead I dug out a favorite crab recipe of mine: Fresh Fettuccine with Creamy Crab Sauce.

While the author waxes lyrical about one of my least favorite wines—a local chardonnay—I’ve made the recipe a few times and always use something other than chardonnay with spectacular results (usually, whatever’s open in the fridge). The creamy, anise-y flavor of the sauce is an addictive compliment to the sweet, briny crab.


This recipe was created by Chronicle staff writer Tara Duggan.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 leek (white and light green parts only), washed well and thinly sliced

1 shallot, minced

1/2 cup Chardonnay

12 ounces fresh fettuccine

1/2 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked through for cartilage

3/4 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

INSTRUCTIONS: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Melt the butter in a large skillet, then add the oil and heat gently. Add the leek and shallot, then saute gently until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for about 2 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

As the pasta cooks, add the crabmeat and cream to the sauce, and simmer gently until just warmed through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

Combine the pasta, sauce and tarragon with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. If needed, add some of the reserved cooking water to thin the sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

PER SERVING: 415 calories, 14 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 23 g fat (11 g saturated), 120 mg cholesterol, 142 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

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Fisherman’s Wharf on a sunny San Francisco day teems with tourists and seagulls. After living in the city for more than a few months, you tend to avoid the neighborhood as tryingly kitsch but there’s a reason all the tourists flock here: spectacular views across the bay and boat-fresh seafood.

The summer fog still hasn’t arrived and I still hadn’t eaten Dungeness crab this season, so David and I took a meandering walk through Chinatown toward the wharf. At $10 a pound (most crabs are between 1-2 pounds), fresh crab wouldn’t necessarily fall into “cheap street food” category, but it’s still about half the price of eating it at a local restaurant.

When it comes to a fresh crab, I’m not sure there’s much difference in quality between the food stalls lining the corner of Jefferson and Taylor (I think the food-quality test is in the chowders), so we chose Nick’s Lighthouse. It had a steady flow of patrons but wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded.

Crabs and some Buds

Sidling up to the counter, we ordered a crab and drinks. I guess Dungeness crab is typically pared with a white wine but today Buds in brown paper bags for $2.80 were pretty hard to beat. The somewhat bland flavor of the “King of Beers” didn’t interfere with the sweet and briny taste of San Francisco’s favorite crustation. The crab was expertly cracked open and we fished out the succulent meat, squeezed lemon over it and dipped it in melted butter.

Stepping back from the counter I moved into the sun, my hands and face were smeared with crab and the Bud had given me a nice little Saturday morning buzz.

I hear the clam chowder at some of the food stalls is stellar—I guess I’ll need to plan a trip back…

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