Many many years ago my wife and I drove around Napa Valley somewhat aimlessly, visiting different vineyards and just taking in the scenery. At lunchtime, we stopped at a nice looking restaurant and proceeded inside and requested a table for two. They looked at us like we were nuts not having a reservation made months before but eventually they gave us two seats at the bar for a late lunchâ€¦ the restaurant was Tra Vigne, with celebrated chef Michael Chiarello at the helm. I donâ€™t remember what we ate that day but I do remember thinking that it progressed from very good to excellent to superb. Only later did we find out we were lucky to have even been given bar seats. This recipe for Roasted Crab with Garlic is patterned after a famous dish that Chef Chiarello published in his Tra Vigne cookbook. It is incredibly easy, incredibly succulent and a favorite when we are at the beach.
Take fresh and fat crabs (alimango) and clean them up and dismember alive. The original recipe calls for Dungeness crabs so those of you abroad who can get this can also try this recipe. Heat up a large pan that can accommodate all your crab and add a generous amount of butter (say half a stick for about 1.5-2.0 kilos of crab) and about as much olive oil. Heat up this mixture and sautÃ© tons of chopped garlic and red pepper flakes to taste (optional if you donâ€™t want heat). Then put the crab pieces in and cook for about 5-7 minutes over high heat with a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. Place everything in a hot (400 degree) oven and cook another 10 or so minutes until the crab is done. Pull out of the oven and place on a serving platter, squeeze a lemon on top of the crab pieces and sprinkle with chopped Italian parsely. Serve hot. The sauce is superb over steamed rice. It must be heart attack material though if not taken in moderation. I know, this sounds too simple to be good, but trust me, it is excellent.