Fresh, locally caught Dungeness crab is a delicacy that Eureka families have looked forward to for decades. Dipped in drawn butter as a party snack or barbecued on the backyard grill for the next day’s dinner, the tasty crustaceans are a rare treat.
While Eureka, CA locals are fortunate to feast on delicious Dungeness as soon as the boats pull into port, the seasonal secret leaked out long ago. Witness the crab feeds, crab boils, crab parties, and a variety of other festivals that are hosted annually throughout the region. From Santa Rosa, up the Inland Valley, and all the way to Modoc County on the state line, fraternal organizations, non-profits, and others find crab perfect for a delicious fund- or friend-raiser.
As the first catch of the season is hauled in, the best option to secure fresh crab is directly off the boats. Fisher-families are set up dockside to fulfill your order but don’t forget to bring your own bucket or cooler. Call ahead to confirm availability from the Woodley Island seafood sellers on the following list.
If you can’t get to the docks before the day’s catch sells out, try the markets listed below. All outlets guarantee that their supply has been caught in local waters.
Call ahead to confirm availability.
Beyond the Dinner Table
The influence of Dungeness crab is also apparent in local pop culture. The late Stephen Hilgenberg, an illustrator who attended Cal Poly Humboldt to study marine biology, created the cartoon character “Mr. Krabs.” The cantankerous owner of the Krusty Krab, where Hilgenberg’s animated hero, Spongebob Squarepants, is employed, the character could have been inspired by a tasty crab sandwich Hilgenberg dined on during his college days.
And then there’s the Humboldt Crabs, the area’s summer college baseball team that was founded in 1945 as the Eureka Paladini Crabs sponsored by the Paladini Fish Company. Since the beginning, the Crabs’ organization has continued to provide summer employment opportunities and delight fans on the field. Further enhancing the ballpark atmosphere is the Crab Grass Band, an assortment of musicians who entertain between innings. Crusty the Crab, the team’s official mascot, came cruising in on a fishing boat during the “Salty Santa” parade in December, accompanied by Santa, who looked a lot like former Crabs’ umpire, Don Hofacker.
Test your Crab IQ
|Curry Crab Cakes by Cerise Ibach|
President, Humboldt Fishermen’s Wives
It’s not surprising that Eureka locals have discovered a variety of tasty ways to prepare Dungeness Crab. We’ll whet your appetite with this classic from Cerise Ibach, president of the Humboldt Fishermen’s Wives non-profit group.
-Sauté onion, jalapeño, garlic in oil until soft/translucent. Let cool. Combine all ingredients and mix together. (I like to leave the crab as lumpy as I can) -Pre-heat oil in medium pan over medium heat. Cook each side until golden, approximately 4 min/side.
|Crab Cakes |
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeño, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 c breadcrumbs
1 lb fresh lump crabmeat
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder, onion powder, pepper (any favorite seasoning)
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
2 egg yolks
|Curry Cream Sauce|
-Over medium heat, bring cream to simmer for 7 minutes to reduce. Mix in curry, salt, & pepper and simmer 1-2 minutes more. (Alone, this sauce tastes bland but poured over crab cakes, it is divine!)
|Curry Cream Sauce|
1/2 C heavy cream
1 Tbsp curry powder
Salt & pepper to taste
“The curry cream sauce is what makes this so amazing. Curry and crab go together as good/better than chocolate & peanut butter or peanut butter & jelly!” – Cerise Ibach, President, Humboldt Fishermen's Wives