Vietnamese Pepper Crab

A favorite restaurant in San Francisco, Thanh Long, serves an amazing roasted crab seasoned with black pepper. We constantly work on recipes, and this is Version 2, which has more butter which comes closer to the model dish. Serve this dish to people you are very comfortable with, as it is a messy, finger-lickin' but oh-so-delicious experience. Goes perfectly with Vietnamese Garlic Noodles.
Yield 4 servings

4 whole Dungeness crabs, live
1 1/2 cup butter, divided use
3 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper, preferably tellicherry
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 Bring a large pot of water to boil, then plunge in the crabs. Cook for 5 minutes and remove immediately from water. Refrigerate until cool enough to handle. (This can be done up to 4 hours in advance of serving.)
2 Melt 1 cup butter and add pepper and garlic. (Can be done in advance, and there is no need to re-melt. The butter can be used in semi-soft form.)
3 Remove back from crabs. Clean all gills and fat from crab body and rinse with cold water. Clean out back shell and rinse.
4 Preheat oven to 450°F. Spread peanut oil in bottom of high-sided roasting pan (this will prevent butter from burning). Place crab bodies in pan. Spread pepper-butter mixture over entire body and legs of crab, filling body cavity. Place back shells over crab and brush with a little butter. Cover with foil, sealing edges to pan. Roast for 20 minutes.
5 Meanwhile, over very low heat, melt remaining 1/2 cup butter, then add scallions and remove from heat.
6 When roasting time is up, transfer crabs to individual serving plates. Spoon a bit of the butter and juices from the roasting pan around the serving plate.
7 Drizzle scallion-butter mixture over legs and around plate. Dress with additional cracked black pepper if desired. Serve with nutcrackers, seafood forks, and lots of napkins.

notes The perfect drink is to chop the top off a coconut. See Coconut Drink.
Here is Vietnamese Pepper Crab 1.0.

Back to original recipe for Vietnamese Pepper Crab
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