Salt Encrusted Dungeness Crab / by jared

Salt Encrusted Dungeness Crab

The other day Jared decided to peruse his favorite Japanese cookbook Shunju. The book is all about seasonal cooking. Cooking items that are in season brings out the best flavor. For the winter season, the book emphasized hot pot and seafood meals. One particular dish that intrigued him was the salt encrusted crab. Well any crab recipe pretty much piques his interest. But he felt that this recipe seemed pretty easy. So today, Jared attempted to make his first salt encrusted crab. What is wonderful about encrusting the crab or other type of seafood or fish, is that it traps the flavor within itself as the salt crust forms a steaming vessel. The salt also pulls moisture away from the crab, which intensify the sweet mild flavor of the crab.

Recipe (modified from the book)
4 egg whites
5lb of fine sea salt (I made the mistake of using coarse salt, which did not hold the crust as tight)
1 dungeness crab (~1.5 lb)
Seaweed (wakame)


  • Put the crab in a pot of boiling water for 10 secs to kill it (murderous, I know)
  • Pull the crab out and let it dry.
  • Separate the egg whites and place into a large bowl.
Salt Encrusted Crab, Separating Egg Yolk
  • Pour all the salt into the bowl and mix with your hand until it is foamy and thick
Salt Encrusted Crab, Salt Batter
  • Lay 1/4 of the salt onto a siltpat or parchment paper
  • Wrap the body of the crab with seaweed and place it onto the salt
Salt Encrusted Crab, Seaweed Wrap
  • Insert a thermo-probe through the mouth of the crab
  • Take the rest of the salt and completely cover the entire crab.
Salt Encrusted Crab, Salt Batter
  • Pack the salt together to form a better crust
  • Pre-heat the oven at 300
  • Bake for 40-50 mins until the thermo probe reaches 125 degrees
  • While baking, use a flat spatula and shape the crust, use the back of the spatula and lightly tap the top to pack in salt for a harder crust
  • Take the crab out and break the salt crust
Salt Encrusted Crab
  • Remove any salt off the crab and serve immediately
Salt Encrusted Crab
This little crab looks sad, yet he was so delicious

Note: To serve, flip the crab on its belly. Remove the flap on the bottom. With a cleaver cut the crab in half and bend the leg together to free it from the shell. Remove the gills from the body and cut into separate pieces. If the roe is nice and orange, do not throw away, but mix it. Add a little soy and use it as a dipping sauce, or spoon it over rice (mmmmh)

And as Alice doesn't like to waste. We saved all the wakame, rinsed it and made seaweed soup to accompany this dish.

Happy Holidays from the Zhao's!