Who's got crab legs?
22 July 2020 | Petersburg
Mark Ward | Rainy
Today, I was on a mission to find some live Dungeness crab. Petersburg is literally engulfed in a cloud of boiling crab steam, yet there are no live tanks or boats obviously selling crab on the docks. Likewise the processors seem unable to comprehend the idea that someone would want to buy a couple live ones. I guess the tourists are missing so nobody is catering to our particular need. I had to go under cover.
Stopping by the Napa for some boat supplies, I casually asked if anyone was selling crab off the docks. The clerk hesitated and said, “well,…the crab season is winding down, but sometimes there are some skiffs that come in later in the afternoon and they may have some. If you can’t find any, let me know and I have a couple numbers I can call.” So off I went to the middle harbor and walked the two floats. But there was no activity and no obvious crab sellers. I would need to come back later in the afternoon. And so it was, after I took a load of laundry to the Laundromat and dried it, I set off again with my bucket. On the south float of the middle harbor, I met a stately older gentleman cleaning his gill net and he asked if I was looking for a boat. “No,” I said, “I was looking for anyone willing to sell a couple of Dungeness crab.” He looked me over and said, “Well, you can check with that guy over there.” I looked at the boat he was pointing at. It was covered in tarps and clearly hadn’t moved in some time. But there was a modest skiff tied alongside. The gentleman walked over with me and poked his head under the tarp. “Hey, you selling any crab today?” “Yep. 10-bucks a piece for the bigger ones. How many you want?” I chimed in and told him, I’d take 3 if he had them. “I’ll have to pull up my trash can. Give me your bucket. And hey, you’re not an undercover cop are you?” “No!” I said, and pulled out $30 bucks from my wallet. A few minutes later, he handed me back my bucket and I was off down the dock with my prize.
And so it was, tonight we feasted on the freshest and most delicious Dungeness crab we’ve ever tasted. After getting the water headed, Ginger watched as I ripped their heads off and rinsed the gills and guts off each half. Then, I took them in and straight to the boiling water. The garlic mashed potatoes I’d made seemed to lose relevance as we each dove into the steaming pile of crab halves on our plates. Ginger’s senses were heightened as Danny kept sliding her pieces of crab under the table, decrying “This crab doesn’t even need any butter!” We proceeded to cover the salon table in crab shrapnel. Hmmmm, we are leaving tomorrow, but perhaps we should go visit the “crab-man” again.