Pacific Dungeness crab inhabit the sandy seafloor and eelgrass beds along the B.C. coast from the intertidal zone to a depth of 600 feet. With a light reddish brown hard shell, white to light orange underside and white tipped claws, Pacific Dungeness crabs can grow to a weight of three pounds and shell width of nine inches. A short lifespan, low age of maturity and high fecundity (capable of abundant reproduction) combined with a management regime that includes size limits, sex restrictions and seasonal closures, have provided for very healthy Pacific Dungeness crab populations.
The Pacific Dungeness crab fishery uses circular steel traps called pots which are constructed to allow finfish bycatch and sub-legal sized crabs to exit the trap and which have biodegradable escape mechanisms to prevent mortality from lost gear.
The tender body flesh and slightly firmer leg meat has a sweet, mild and slightly nutty taste which has made the Pacific Dungeness crab a favorite ingredient among chefs.
Chef Riccardo Bertolino of Montreal's Maison Boulud on Pacific Dungeness crab:
How to Prepare Mix crab meat with diced celery, salt, pepper, creme fraiche and lime zest. Wrap this crab mixture with sliced celeriac (celery root) and garnish the dish with blood orange, squid ink and Italian micro fennel pure. For an easier preparation, simply serve the crab mixture on top of your favorite salad greens.
The fresh flavor of the crab will shine with simple ingredients.