Any seafood lover who’s travels to the west coast of the United States would be remiss without giving the region’s famous Dungeness crab a taste.
“Mendocino Coast’s incredible Dungeness crab is absolutely one of the most amazing sea creatures one can use in the kitchen,” says Victor Passalacqua, head chef at the Elk Cove Inn in Mendocino, CA.
“Its buttery texture, delicate sweet flavor, oceanic brine and firm meat makes it a delight to work with—and especially to eat,” he continues. “Best, of course, is to eat it fresh out of the ocean.”
When it’s time to gather ingredients, Dungeness crab or otherwise, chef Passalacqua is beyond privileged. He sources everything he needs for the perfect Dungeness crab recipe right by his kitchen door, between the Elk Inn’s on-site cove and greenhouse.
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Of course, you don’t live at the Elk Inn, and you may not even live on the west coast, but you can still enjoy a taste of this top-tier treat with chef Passalacqua’s delightful Dungeness crab and roasted butternut ravioli with the step-by-step recipe below.
“You can grill, steam, boil or broil [Dungeness crab] as well,” he says. “If you prefer to work a little and prepare a masterpiece, this particular recipe is ideal.”
This recipe serves four, and while it does not call for you to make your own pasta, chef Passalacqua certainly encourages you to use fresh pasta for the ultimate textural experience.
Fresh herbs heighten the flavor profile, and seasonal uni (sea urchin) is suggested to bring an extra level of luxury. The sauce is creamy with a touch of lemon, white wine and cognac. Master this sauce, and it can go well with other proteins of your choice.
Visit Elk Cove Inn in Mendocino, CA., and online for more delicious dishes and coastal inspiration.
Photography by: Karen Dunbar