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Give me crabs…

…the edible type. I have to say my favourite kind of seafood has to be the crab. I know a lot of people despise crab because it is also one of the most difficult seafood to eat. You have to crack the hard shell with a nutcracker, smash the claws with hammer whilst juices splatter everywhere, poking a chopstick through the thin long legs with such small amount of crab meat just isn’t worth the effort. For me, the tediousness is all part of enjoying the most beautiful creature in the deep sea.

As much as I would like to have crab on the menu every day, it is also one of the most expensive seafood in the market which is one of the reasons why I rarely buy them. As for which type of crabs to get, I’d much prefer mud crab over blue swimmers until I was introduced to Alaskan King Crab recently at Tetsuya’s masterclass and also at the bbq. I remember seeing a glass tank full of these crabs at Osaka Aquarium and they are massive, crawling on top of each other like those giant alien spaceships in War of the World. On the other hand, they are absolutely delicious!

The Alaskan crab legs I bought from a local fish shop cost me $18.90/kilo, a splurge of indulgence once a while. I only used the merus section for an entree dish. The merus section is the part in between the tip and the joint to the body, which is also the meaty part of the whole leg. I try not to tarnish the sweet flavour of the crab meat by sticking to a very simple recipe by only using Shaoxing wine while steaming the legs, then a drizzle of lemon butter before serving with a fragrant basil oil.

It sure is a beautiful entree dish to wow the guests at your next dinner party.

Original recipe by A Table For Two

4 Alaskan crab legs
1 bunch basil
1 cup olive oil
1 lemon
1 tbsp butter
Shaoxing Wine
1 sprig dill

1. Clean all legs to get rid of gunk and dirt then pat dry. We only want the merus part of the legs. Use a cleaver, chop the tips and the joints off. Don't discard the unused parts, they are good for making soup or ravioli.

2. Use scissors, cut open the shell on each side of the shell. Make sure you don't cut the flesh. It should open easily and half of the shell will be like a lid.

3. Set up a bamboo steamer over simmering hot water.

4. Drizzle shaoxing wine on the crab meat, cut a long strip of lemon rind place on top of the meat then close it back with half of the shell. Place the legs inside the steamer and steam for 5-10minutes until the shell turns bright red.

5. Heat up butter in a pan, squeeze half a lemon juice and let it cook reduce and fragrant.

6. To serve, open the lid of the legs and drizzle lemon butter on the crab meat. Place basil oil drops on plate.

To make basil oil
1. We only need the leaf part of the basil. Add all leaves and olive oil into a blender and blend until a coarse paste.
2. Transfer the paste into a saucepan and heat up on very low heat at 60C for 1hour. The longer the better. Make sure the oil doesn't heat up too quickly and brown the basils. It the oil starts to bubble, take it off the heat, cool down and then transfer back to the heat.
3. Drain the into a bowl through a fine sieve, discard the residue.