A recipe from Frankie Avalon.


  • One 1 ½ to 2 lbs. freshly cooked or thawed frozen Dungeness crab, cleaned and cracked by the fish store.
  • 3 Tb. olive oil
  • One 28 oz. can tomato purée or crushed tomatoes
  • One 8 oz. bottle clam juice
  • One 6 oz. can crabmeat, undrained
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. spaghetti


1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat until the oil is very hot. Add the cracked crab in the shell and turn to coat with the oil. Add the tomato purée, clam juice, canned crabmeat with its juices, and garlic powder.

2. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced slightly, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook, according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain the spaghetti and return it to its cooking pot.

4. Using tongs, transfer the crab in the shell to a platter. Add the sauce to the spaghetti and mix well. Divide the spaghetti among serving bowls and serve hot, with the crab passed on the side. (Or cool, cover, and refrigerate the crab and eat it chilled at another meal.)

NOTES: Twelve blue crabs, cleaned by the fish store, can be substituted by Dungeness crabs. To cook, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until the oil is very hot. Working in batches, and adding more oil as needed, add the crabs and cover the skillet (the crabs will “spit” as they cook). Cook, turning occasionally, until the shells turn red, about 5 minutes. It is more difficult to get the meat out of the smaller blue crab shells, so you might not want to bother, but they will season the sauce well.

If you wish, substitute one 8 oz. can refrigerated pasteurized lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage, for the standard canned crabmeat.

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