As the season ramps up along the Pacific coast, stock up on recipes to take advantage of the very best time of the year

Crab Feast Platter

Photo: Alex Farnum

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The very instant that crab season starts, it’s game time. From the San Francisco Bay Area all the way up to the Pacific Northwest, Dungeness crab season is the real start of the holidays. Recreational fishing for the delicious crustacean starts Saturday, November 2 in the Bay Area, and will be shortly followed by the opening of commercial crab fishing on November 15, with the season starting in December further up the coast. All that to say: Prepare your pots and stock up on good butter! My favorite way to eat crab is to take cleaned, cracked crabs and roast them in the oven in their shells, tossed with garlic, butter, olive oil, and red chile flakes. (I usually have the fishmonger crack my crabs for me, but for more on cooking live crabs, head over to Sunset’s Guide to Cooking Dungeness Crab.) There are many ways to consume a crab however, as evidenced by Maya’s collection of exception crab recipes below. Find even more here.

—Ellen Fort, food editor

Maya’s Corner

Photo: Iain Bagwell

My Highly Subjective Ranking on the Best Ways to Eat Crab

Enjoying crab season doesn’t mean making crab on your own every weekend. If you’re like me, you don’t have the time or patience for that. I can, however, eat the soft, delicate, sweet meat everyday. Here are six of my favorite ways to eat crab this season, ranked in a handy list for your crustaceous-loving pleasure.

6) CRAB BENEDICT: Crab benedict is the dish someone at the table always seems to order, but that’s what makes it a brunch classic. My only gripe is that it’s easy for the crab to get lost in all the runny yolk and hollandaise sauce happening.

5) CALIFORNIA ROLL: With chunks of real crab, not the fake stuff. 

4) KING CRAB RANGOON WITH GARLIC CHEESE DIP: Stuffed lumpia wrappers filled with king crab served with a garlicky cream cheese dip and a sprinkle of a Sichuan-style Old Bay spice. 

3) CRAB PASTA: Like this crab pasta with prosecco and meyer lemon sauce or this dungeness crab pasta with fresh noodles.

2) SALAD WITH CRAB: Not crab salad, but salad with crab. Big, chilled chunks of the good stuff kept simple, like this colorful, crunchy crab posole salad.

1) SAUCY, GARLIC CRAB: Steamed and swimming in fresh garlic from San Francisco’s beloved R&G Lounge.

There you have it. Now go forth and savor crab season as it unfolds.

—Maya Wong, assistant editor

More to read this week:

  • Superstar chefs Jessica Koslow (Sqirl in L.A.) and Gabriela Cámara (Cala in SF, Contramar in Mexico City) opened Onda, a buzzy Santa Monica restaurant “rooted in Mexican food,” this week. Chips and Dips with fermented chile guacamole and black beans, and corn nuts made from heirloom Mexican corn and dusted with jalapeño-sauerkraut salt are both on the menu.
  • Speaking of Koslow, here’s her recipe for tomato salad with crispy potatoes and creamy feta.
  • And in the name of crab season, here’s Cámara’s recipe for crab tostadas with shredded celeriac (you can also use shredded napa cabbage).
  • Celebrate Day of the Dead by making this Pan de Muerto recipe.
  • You can still celebrate Halloween this weekend with Disney’s California Adventure’s Snow White-inspired Poison Appletini recipe.

Looking for more inspiration? Head over to  Sunset Recipes for our fall cooking highlights.