4 live crabs, about 1-3/4 lbs each, or substitute cooked crabs
1/2 cup salt
1 large lemon, quartered
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 gallons water
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh garlic
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup minced parsley
Parsley sprigs, lemon wedges for garnish
If using live crabs, cook them: Combine salt, lemon, vinegar and water in a large kettle and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, drop in 2 crabs, 1 at a time. When the water resumes boiling, reduce the heat to a low boil, cover and cook the crabs for 10 minutes. Remove the crabs to a strainer in the sink. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining 2 crabs.
When the crabs are cool enough to handle, clean and crack them (see cleaning instructions), reserving the crab butter.
Preheat oven to 500. Put the butter, oil and garlic in a roasting pan. put the roasting pan in the oven to melt the butter. Add the cooked crab pieces, turning them to coat with the butter-oil mixture. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the crab shells are shiny, the crab is hot all the way through and the garlic is golden. Spoon over the lemon juice and the parsley and turn the crabs to coat evenly.
Spoon 1-2 tbl. of the pan juices into the reserved crab butter (if you have it from cracking the crabs yourself). Arrange the crab pieces on serving platters, then pour the pan juices over them. Garnish with sprigs of parsley and lemon wedges and serve with the crab butter.
Georgeanne Brennan, S.F. Chronicle, 12/24/97