Alaskan King Crabs are harvested between October and January off of the coast of Alaska, so you should be seeing shipments of these giant crustaceans during the fall months. Many food retailers ship crab legs already frozen to ensure freshness. Other facilities such as fresh seafood markets may ship them in live.
If you ever get the chance to see a live King crab, you can understand how dangerous it would be to harvest these immense crustaceans. On average, one Alaskan fisherman will die weekly fishing for King crabs in Alaska.
I originally created this recipe with wild King crab legs because they were on sale at my local market. However, I've had the same great results with other medium-sized crab legs, such as stone crabs, which are very sweet! You will need at least 8 to 10 medium-sized crab legs over the king crab legs in this recipe.
This gravy is better the day after as the flavors blend together nicely. You may freeze the leftover gravy for a quick and easy fix for last minute dinners. Enjoy cracking the crab legs and picking out the soaked crab meat. You will need plenty of wet wipes or napkins, but it's worth the mess!
3 tbsp. Olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 large cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 large red chili peppers, de-seeded and diced fine
1 1/2 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 cup sweet vermouth
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 - 32 oz. can tomato sauce
1 - 32 oz. can chopped tomatoes in sauce
4 cups water
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
4 King crab legs, washed (or other available inexpensive crab legs)
2 - 6 oz. cans fancy or lump crab meat
1. In a large, deep pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and chili peppers and cook until the onions become opaque, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
2. Add the tomato paste along with the Italian seasoning and mix well to incorporate. Next, raise the heat to high and then add the sweet vermouth. Boil and cook for 1 minute and reduce the heat back to medium.
3. Add the tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, water and sugar (the sugar will balance the acidity of the tomatoes.) Bring to a simmer. Rinse the crab legs and drop them into the pot (break them up if you need to.) Cover and cook for at least 1 - 3 hours, covered, stirring occasionally.
Please note: if the sauce seems too thick, add water as desired to thin it out a little.
4. Lastly, carefully remove the crab legs to a platter and then add the cans of crab meat to the pot (with juices), stir and heat through for 1 minute.
Serve this delicious crab gravy tossed with your favorite pasta or rice. I prefer the pasta...any kind.