After several futile attempts at catching crabs in our pot carried aboard Jupiter since Bellingham, with purchased fishing licenses for B.C. and Alaska, we finally reaped a generous haul of highly prized Dungeness crab.
Being new to this form of foraging, we sought advice from anyone: cabbies to crabbers recreational and professional, from the 48th to the 60th parallels, taking notes on preferred locations, baits and methods.
The process involves simply baiting a trap, taking the gear in our tender to a likely spot between 4 and 14 fathoms (depending on the season) where fresh water mixes with salt. Lower trap. Return after a turn of the tide. Haul and Eat. Not so simple, as it turns out.
Ever tenacious in spite of finding sundry creatures inhabiting the trap on previous occasions, we lowered our pot again on a sunny Sunday afternoon in beautiful Cannery Cove, Admiralty Island. We decided to let it sit overnight, and early the next morning with the sun barely breaking the peaks we hauled her up. Yes! The crab-pot jackpot.
This abundant haul provided sweet, succulent meat for two meals for four crew. First, supper of chilled Dungeness crab in the shell with boiled potatoes, home-made slaw, lemons and drawn butter. The following day a rich, silky bisque for lunch.
What a witless crab am I, a Dungeness in a dungeon, hauling up from mud to sky to be ended with a truncheon.
Seven pals on a feeding spree can’t resist that chicken-wing baiting, and one lucky she-crab going free, tossed back for love and dating.
We were a happy side-scuttling troupe, now kidnapped, cooked, and picked for a soup.
Cannery Cove Crab Bisque
Sauté finely chopped shallot in butter until golden. Over medium heat add a generous quantity of freshly picked crab meat, toss well in shallot butter. Sprinkle with a heaping spoonful of flour, stir to combine. Add equal parts shrimp stock and cream, and lemon juice. Stir until slightly thickened. Season with salt, pepper and hot smoked paprika. Serve in warm bowls topped with crispy bacon bits alongside chilled new potato halves bedecked in crème fraîche and fresh salmon caviar.