Tomato crab sauce

Joined Jan 9, 2010
I'm trying to make an intense crab tasting tomato sauce like grandma used to make. I have tried using live crabs and live crabs with crabmeat added to no avail. My question is if I DON'T intend to eat the crabs after cooking, is it necessary to clean them before cooking? Do you think this will help intensify the flavor? Any other suggestions?
Joined May 26, 2001
It's always a good idea to clean them. You don't want, um, nasty stuff getting into the sauce. :p

One thing that might help intensify the flavor is to sauté the crabs before you add them to the other ingredients. Break them up, sear the shells, maybe even flame them with a little brandy. This is pretty much SOP for lobster-based liquids, so I figure it would work well for crabs, too.

But unless you can get crabs really really cheap, it seems a waste to use the meat that way. Can't you remove the meat, use the shells, then add the meat back to the finished sauce? (Of course, I don't know what your grandma's sauce was like; that's just what I would do. ;) )
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Just to add to what Suzanne said,what type of crab are you using?
I would remove the meat to use for another use,roast the shells with some mire poix and add a touch of tomato paste the last 10 minutes. Add this to a stock pot and deglaze your roasting pan with a bit of cognac and Pernod, remove the fond and add to the pot. Barely cover with cold water, add a sachet including tarragon and simmer until very fragrant and the liquid has reduced a couple inches below the solids. Then crush the solids and reduce 1/3. Strain, reserve solids. Puree solids in a blender and add back to liquid. Refresh sachet and reduce by 1/2. Pass through a fine chinoise lined with cheesecloth. This "essence" should be very concentrated and ready to add to a sauce or make a compound butter to monte with.
Joined Apr 21, 2009
Things like this always make me think economics vs. complexity. the last time I did something like this(culinary school) we divided ingredients for purpose. Cheaper whole crab (low meat yield: blue crab for us) was cleaned, roughly chopped, sauteed, and simmered with a bouquet garni, as Suzanne and Cape said. A lot of flavor comes from the shell and all the little bits you can't pick out unless you are an expert crab picker. I was amazed how much flavor came from shrimp shells and heads the first time I made a stock from them, and it is the same idea. And the Brandy idea expands it from just water based flavors to alcohol based ones as well.

After you strain the broth, add the rest of your sauce stuff: sweated onions/garlic, tomato,nice lump crap, herbs, what you remember, and you should get crabby crab. So you won't be crabby. Good luck.
Top Bottom