Northside SF  

October '09

The Kitchenless Cook
I'm feeling crabby
By Bill Knutson


Cioppino for two
photo: Elizabeth Armstrong
With the local Dungeness crab season closely approaching, I have been preparing for my first crab feast of the year. Usually what this entails is that I buy a crab for myself and devour it along with a crusty loaf of sourdough and some Anchor Steam. But once I get past my initial binge feast, I like to prepare crab dishes I can share with friends and family, and one of my favorites is crab cioppino.
The only problem I have with cioppino is that it is best made in quantity, and when it’s just my wife and me, we get a little tired of eating cioppino five nights in a row. So, I came up with a recipe for a small batch, perfect for sharing with the one you love. Pair it up with your favorite white wine and a loaf of sourdough.


Cioppino for Two
1 Dungeness crab (about 1½ to 2 pounds)
3 ounces pancetta (or bacon), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1 cup white wine
1 pound Roma tomatoes, diced
20 leaves fresh basil
2 teaspoons black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Crack and clean the crab, removing the meat from the body portions, and then crack the shell on each portion of the legs. This will make it easier to eat and allow the sauce to reach the meat. Set aside in refrigerator.

Dice the pancetta and cook in a medium saucepan. When it is just starting to brown, add olive oil, onion, garlic, and celery. Cook over medium heat until the onions and celery have softened.
Add wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Add tomatoes, basil, both peppers, and salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add crab and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Divide into 2 bowls, tie on your bibs, and enjoy.

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