Courtesy Andrew Truong and Liya Lin, Terrapin Creek, Bodega Bay, California
After working at some of San Francisco’s top restaurants, Andrew Truong and his wife, Liya Lin, sought to escape the fast lane. A glance through “for sale” ads led them to a tiny fishing village with a 40-seat restaurant they could afford and that didn’t need much renovation. Terrapin Creek opened in 2008. It won its Michelin star in 2012, and it has retained that designation ever since. Spotlighting crab landed at docks just downhill from the restaurant, this dish is like a deconstructed crab cake, says Truong. “It’s got buttery béchamel sauce, a dash of lemon acidity, pieces of crab, some breadcrumbs on top—like a crab cake, but richer and creamier.”
- 2 Dungeness crabs (or 14–16 ounces Dungeness crabmeat)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 scallion, sliced or finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 cup toasted breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
If using fresh crab: Boil very large pot of water. Add crabs. Set timer for 16–18 minutes. When water returns to boil, cover pot and turn off burner. Cook until timer goes off. Remove crabs from pot and cool. Pick crabmeat.
To make béchamel: In separate saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook 3–5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and salt. Cook 5 minutes. Whisk in lemon juice and paprika. Set aside.
In frying pan, sauté shallot, celery and scallion with olive oil or butter until soft. Add ½ cup water and béchamel sauce to vegetable mixture, and stir to combine. When sauce boils, add crabmeat and cook until just warm.
Serve crab ragout in shallow bowls, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Serves 4–6.
Truong suggests Marimar Estate’s 2014 Don Miguel Vineyard Albariño ($32, 92 points), from California’s Russian River Valley. “The Albariño cuts the richness of the ragout, yet the crab dish does not interfere with any of the citrus and mineral characteristics of the wine.”