Vietnamese Pepper Crab 2.0

We are constantly working on this recipe, trying to attain the crab served at Thanh Long and Crustacean restaurants in San Francisco. For the longest time, we have had a recipe on this site that has become quite popular with our readers, which can be found here Vietnamese Pepper Crab . Rather than replace the widely-used recipe, we are offering this Version 2, which has quite a bit more butter. We think it comes even closer to the real thing. Again, I must stress that this is a dish that you serve to people you are very comfortable with, as it is a messy, finger-lickin’ but oh-so-delicious experience.
Yield 4 servings

4 whole Dungeness crabs, live
1 1/2 cups 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 5minutes 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 ½ 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 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.
Chop the top off a coconut and serve as an accompanying drink like this Coconut Milk Cocktail .
Another good side is Vietnamese Garlic Noodles

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