Cracked Crab with Horseradish Mayonnaise
For the horseradish mayonnaise:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp. whole-grain mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable, corn or safflower oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
- 3 Tbs. prepared horseradish
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs. warm water
For the crabs:
- 4 quarts water
- 1 Tbs. salt
- 3 live Dungeness crabs, each 2 to 2 1/2 lb.
To prepare the crabs, in a large pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, add the salt and the crabs, immersing them completely. Boil until the crabs are cooked and the shells are red, about 12 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the crabs to a plate and let cool slightly.
Working with 1 crab at a time, place the crab on its back. Pull off the small triangular apron-shaped shell flap and discard. Turn the crab over and lift up and snap off the large top shell and discard. Remove the dark gray intestines and the feather-shaped white spongy gills from the body and discard. Rinse the body well. Using a large, heavy knife, cut the body in half from the head to the tail. Cut each half crosswise into thirds. Using a lobster cracker or a mallet, crack the claws and legs. If the crabs have cooled, warm them on a steamer rack over boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes.
To serve, arrange the crabs on a platter and serve with small forks or lobster picks for extracting the meat. Offer the horseradish mayonnaise on the side.