To some folks, New Year's Eve is all about donning your finest to sit at a crowded white-tablecloth restaurant and feast on the fanciest tasting menu imaginable.
I like to get down and dirty at home on New Year's Eve. With fresh Dungeness crab, to be exact.
New Year's Eve is not complete without digging my fingers into some fresh, cracked crab with meat that's silky, sweet–and yes—finger-licking good. After all, eating with your hands is as sexy as it gets. With glasses of festive sparkling wine, a perfectly dressed Caesar salad and a warmed loaf of crusty sourdough, it's a quintessential Northern California way to ring in the New Year.
By all means, you can take the easy route and buy already cooked crabs. Just be sure you get them from a place that has a lot of turnover to ensure freshness.
Or cook your own by buying live Dungeness from an Asian market. You can prepare them easily by boiling them in salted water, steaming them or roasting them in the oven. For the past few years, I've used Bay Area food writer Bruce Aidells' easy recipe that involves boiling the crabs in beer with onions and bay leaves. Yes, Aidells may be known for the sausage company that still bears his name. But the man knows seafood equally well. Indeed, the hoppy flavor of the beer brings out even more sweetness in the crab.
So, put on a big pot to boil, light some candles, and get ready to feast on a true San Francisco treat as one year ends and another begins with taste you won't forget.
For Bruce Aidells' recipe for crab boiled in beer, go to my FoodGal site where I've written about having a crabby new year.
Now that I've whet your appetite, tell me your favorite food to celebrate the New Year.
What are you eating on New Year's Eve?
Editor's Note: This article was orginally published Dec. 30, 2010.