Dungeness crab holiday dinner recipe to welcome crab season

by on November 30, 2011

Get your salt water ready. It’s time to boil.

After almost two weeks of strikes, California fisherman finally struck a deal on pricing this week, and Dungeness crab is expected to arrive in markets before the weekend. To celebrate the unofficial-official start to crab season, we’re sharing two recipes from Jordan Executive Chef Todd Knoll to inspire your next crab dinner or holiday menu.

Our friends at Mutineer Magazine loved these recipes so much, they highlighted them in a Knoll family “Off Duty” feature in Mutineer’s newly released holiday issue. The full article is available to Mutineer subscribers and can be viewed in jordanwinery.com’s news highlights.

“Executive Chef Todd Knoll of Jordan Winery in Healdsburg, California, may just be one of the luckiest guys in the business. After a long year slinging sous-vide green almonds and milk-fed lamb, he gets a break to enjoy the holidays with friends and family. Every year, Todd and his wife, Nitsa, host their family for a Christmas Eve crab boil. They chose crab because it only requires minimal work, leaving them time to relax with family. The flavor payload is off the charts.”     – Erin Jimcosky, Mutineer Magazine



  • 6 live Dungeness crabs
  • 3 gallons of seawater or a seasoned equivalent
  • 2 fennel fronds, roughly chopped
  • 3 lemons, sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs. black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of Jordan Chardonnay


  1. Have a large ice bath at the ready.
  2. In a stockpot, combine all aromatics, Chardonnay and water. Bring to a full boil.
  3. Carefully grasp crabs by the back legs and lower them into the boiling liq­uid. Cover and cook for 14 minutes.
  4. Remove and chill in ice bath.
  5. Separate the top shell or carapace— it comes off easily— then discard the gills and mouthparts before removing the abdominal flap at the rear.
  6. Reserve the crab butter: it makes for a great spread over sourdough crostini (Cognac and sel gris wouldn’t hurt).
  7. Split the crabs in two and crack with a mallet or the flat side of a heavy cleaver.
  8. Carefully pick and enjoy!



  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1 clove of elephant garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • zest of one orange
  • 4 sprigs of lemon thyme
  • ½ cup of Jordan Chardonnay


  1. In a saucepan, combine butter, old bay, ancho, garlic, shallots, orange zest and thyme.
  2. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the Chardonnay and continue to simmer for five minutes.
  4. Serve immediately. Yields one cup.

Photography by Phil Jimcosky. Find more of his delicious work at FoodAperture.com.

  • Guest

    Oh, sweet sweet crab meat, how I love you.  This sounds great.

  • 30A EATS

    YUM! Just got back from Seattle! Pikes Place Market! Fresh and HUGE!!

  • http://www.jordanwinery.com Lisa

    We love Pikes Place. Thanks for sharing!