Yields 4 Sandwiches

2 live Dungeness crabs about 2- 2 ½ pounds each

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

¼ cup Old Bay Seasoning

Salt to taste

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 avocado, diced

4 hoagie rolls

2 tablespoons butter

8 leaves of butter lettuce

2 heirloom tomatoes sliced


Using a very large stock pot that will fit the crabs, fill with water. Add in bay leaves, peppercorns, old bay seasoning and enough salt to make the water taste like the ocean. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling lower each crab into the pot using tongs (grabbing them from behind to avoid pinchers). Once water returns to a boil set timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn off heat and cover pot. Set timer for 5 minutes.

While the crabs are cooking, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with cold water and ice. Place cooked crabs in ice water and allow to sit for a minute or two to cool.

To clean the crab:
Begin by removing the top shell. You can do this by looking for grooves where your thumbs will fit near the rear legs. Pull up on the shell. Flip the crab over and locate the long, almost triangular section of shell running partway down the center of the shell. Pull that piece up and backwards to remove it. Flip the crab again and remove the gills that run along the sides with your hands. Unless you eat the “crab butter” (the mushy yellow stuff in the cavity) wash it away with the intestines. The legs should easily twist off and, in most cases, can be cracked by hand. For harder pieces (such as the claws) use a mallet to crack them. I like to wrap them in a towel before cracking to cut down on the mess. Take the body and fold it back and forth like a book. It should crack in half after a few bends. Pick out meat from claws, legs and body cavities, and place in a bowl.

Sandwich Assembly:
In a food processor combine softened cream cheese, cilantro, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and avocado. Pulse until smooth. Cut hoagie rolls in half and spread butter on each side. Place butter side down in a skillet over medium-high heat until toasty brown. Spread each toasted roll with a generous amount of avocado spread and top with lettuce and tomatoes, then divide crab mixture evenly among rolls.

Courtesy of Mark Caldwell, Executive Chef Davis Estates