Crab legs look impressive on the plate. However, many cooks are intimidated by them; they must be hard to cook, right? In reality, they are extremely simple. In fact, when you buy crab legs on their own, they have already been cooked. All you need to do is reheat them. Of course, there are several ways to accomplish this.
You are better off buying frozen crab legs than those that have already been thawed. Freezing stops the deterioration process, but once the legs are thawed, every minute starts to count against you. It is simple to thaw them yourself in the refrigerator. It takes about 8 hours or so to thaw crab legs there.
Actually, you can thaw and reheat your crab legs at the same time using your microwave. This is a good use of this kitchen appliance. Just wrap your crab legs in a damp paper towel and zap them for about 4 minutes or so. It may take more or less time, depending on the number of crab legs you are making. This is the simplest method to get them ready to eat. Be careful not to overcook.
Broiling really concentrates the crab flavor. Before you heat them, split the shells with a kitchen shears. Just make a cut all along one side of the leg so the meat is easy to access. Now lay your crab legs out on a broiler pan and brush them with melted butter or olive oil. Broil them for about 3 minutes and you can enjoy a delicious dinner of crab legs.
You can also bake your crab legs. For this method, heat up your oven to 350 degrees F. Lay them out on baking sheets and let them cook for 8 or 9 minutes. This is sufficient to heat them up nicely. Remove them from the oven and slit the shells with your kitchen shears. Serve with clarified butter or dipping sauce.
Extra Cooking Tips
Crab legs are often frozen in brine to protect the freshness of the meat. The brine is salty, so you may want to rinse the crab legs in fresh water a few times so it does not end up too salty for you. It is easier to remove the salt before you heat the crab than afterwards.
Do not boil crab legs to reheat them. Boiling steals that delightful crab flavor from the meat, leaving you with rubbery, overcooked legs. You can choose to steam them instead. This is gentler form of heat that makes it easier to cook them just right.
If you are looking at King crab legs, they are usually packaged in 10-pound packages. If you want a minimum of 10 pounds, ask your fishmonger about getting a package that has not been opened. These packages are numbered according to how many legs it takes to make 10 pounds. A 12-14 means there are 12 to 14 legs in that package, while a more expensive 6-9 will only give you 6 to 9 legs in a 10-pound package.
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded: 01-10-16
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