Recipe: Crab and Veggie Boil

We are huge fans of good old fashioned crab boils. Screw the temperature - they make us feel like we're at an ocean-side resort, steps from warm, white sand and gently lapping waves. A recent trip to one of our favorite purveyors of specialty foods, Phoenicia, revealed a magnificent find: two pounds of frozen, wild-caught Alaskan snow crab clusters for a mere $15. We quickly threw it in our cart along with inexpensive bags of frozen broccoli and green beans, fresh baby carrots, and gold potatoes.

The drive back home in the achingly frigid weather did little to disrupt our faux beach vacation. And once we had the water boiling and the oven heated to keep our gems hot until the very moment of ingestion, we were salivating Pavlov-style. Read on for the ridiculously easy recipe.

Snow Crab and Veggie Boil

  • 2 pounds crab clusters
  • ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 8 ounces baby carrots
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli
  • 1 bag frozen green beans
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • Get the biggest pot you have and fill it with water about 3 inches from the top. Add ½ cup Cajun seasoning, ½ cup garlic powder, and two tablespoons black pepper. Really, the seasoning is up to you -- add more or less of whatever you particularly like. Place the potatoes (dice into chunks if using large potatoes, or leave whole for fingerling and new potatoes) and carrots in the pot. Set it on high and let it come to a nice rolling boil.

    Meanwhile, set the oven to 300 degrees.

    Once the water has begun boiling like Caribbean waves, add your other vegetables and cook all the veggies until tender crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pot. Place them in a bowl and stick them in the oven to keep them warm.

    Now comes the star. Begin by washing the excess ice off the crab. Then submerge those crunchy scarlet legs and claws into your flavorful boiling water. Cook them for about 3-5 minutes, or until they are piping hot. We had to cook ours in several batches, so we placed the heated crab in the oven so it would remain sun-kissed warm until everything was ready.

    Take out two ramekins or small bowls and divide the butter between them. Add the minced garlic and parsley to one bowl. Add the remaining Cajun seasoning and garlic powder to the other butter bowl. Place both bowls in the microwave and heat until melty and frothy, about one to two minutes.

    Bust out a bottle of vino, perhaps that great little Portuguese white with the crab on the label (how fitting!), transfer the luscious crab, savory veggies, decadent butter, and juicy yellow wedges of lemon to the table along with some sort of cracking utensils, then sit back and eat until you forget that it's still January. Why not throw a little Jimmy Buffet on? We won't tell if you slip off to Margaritaville for an hour or two.

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    Geri Maria Harris