Taste of Thursday recipe Dungeness Crab Salad on the Shell

Dungeness Crab Salad on the Shell by Chef Todd Bright of Wild Rice

Serves 2

ingredients – crab :

3 liters vegetable stock

1 lemon, cut in half

2 bay leaves

Half bunch of cilantro

1 whole live Dungeness crab

ingredients – dressing:

½ cup mirin*

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger

1/3  cup soy sauce

¼ cup canola oil

ingredients – salad:

half head of sui choy, chiffonaded

1 carrot, julienned

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 orange, peeled and segmented (white pith removed)

¼ cup pickled onions


  • In a very large pot with a lid, combine stock, lemon, bay leaves and cilantro.
  • Cover and bring to a boil.
  • When the stock is boiling, grasp the live crab by the back legs and drop it into the pot headfirst. For a more humane method, as you grasp the crab by the legs, stroke the top of its head until it falls asleep and then slowly drop it into the boiling stock.
  • Bring the stock back to the boil and only then start timing.  Large crabs (about 2 lbs.) need around 15 – 20 minutes, smaller crabs will need only 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Once the stock has started to boil again, reduce the heat and simmer for the required time.
  • The crab shell should turn bright orange when done.
  • When the crab is cooked, remove it from the stock and immerse for few seconds in cold water so that cooking stops and it does not overcook.
  • To remove the back, hold the base of the crab with one hand and pull the shell away from the body with the other hand.
  • Reserve and dry the shell.
  • Turn the crab over and pull on the triangular-shaped section and lift it away. Turn the crab again and gently scrape away the gills on either side with your thumb or a spoon. Also, throw away the intestine, which runs down the center of the back.
  • Most people wash away the ‘crab butter’ (the yellow, mushy stuff in the cavity). However, it can be added to the dressing if you like. Otherwise, discard.
  • Rinse the rest of the body under cold water and break it in half and remove all the meat.
  • Twist off the legs.
  • Crack the legs with a mallet or a cracker and remove all the meat.
  • Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and whisk together.
  • Place the salad ingredients with the crabmeat in a separate bowl and mix together.
  • Drizzle with the dressing and serve in the cleaned out crab shell.

*available in Asian food stores or the Asian food section of larger supermarkets


Executive Chef Todd Bright

Chef ToddTodd Bright began his career at age 17 in Australia as an apprentice at Ming Jade Restaurant under Cantonese Chef Kevin Lowe. At the age of 22, he travelled widely through Europe, completing stages with many renowned restaurants and finally settling down as Sous Chef at a high-end gastro-pub in Oxford, England. Upon returning to Australia his valuable experience overseas led to a position at Vino’s, the largest, and multi-award winning, fine-dining restaurant in Queensland, Australia. After seeing Europe, Todd was bit by the travel bug again and in the winter of 2007 ventured to Vancouver, Canada. His talents were immediately discovered by Wild Rice where, after one year, he rose to the position of Restaurant Chef. Chef Bright’s menus reflect his passionate commitment to creating local and sustainable dishes while never compromising on flavor or creativity.

In April of 2009, Todd took a hiatus to learn about wine and winemaking in the Okanagan. While there he completed his intermediate certificate with WSET and worked with Cellar Art Wines where he assisted with wine-making as well as creating the food and wine pairings for the winery’s tasting room.

Todd returned to Wild Rice as Executive Chef in January of 2010 where he immediately jumped into preparing special menus for Chinese New Year’s and the Olympics.

John Henderson, restaurant critic for The Denver Post, wrote of Chef Bright’s food in a February 2010 syndicated feature, “The menu is as visionary as the new China… I spent a month in China in 2008 and except for Peking duck in one Beijing dive, this seafood ravioli was the best Chinese dish I’ve ever had.”

Also in 2010, Chef Bright became the first non-Asian finalist in the Chinese Restaurant Awards Chinese Restaurant Chef of the Year the competition. While he did not win or place, Chef Bright was honoured to included in this prestigious group of eight chefs and won many accolades from the older, traditional chefs for his dishes. “It was an amazing opportunity and I am so pleased to have been part of the competition. As a result, I now have a network of Chinese chef colleagues. ”

In 2011, Chef Bright joined Wild Rice owner Andrew Wong as a business partner to open Wild Rice’s second location in New Westminster’s River Market. In 2014, Mr. Wong and Chef Todd closed their Vancouver location and to concentrate their efforts on the over-whelmingly successful New Westminster location. At the same time it was rebranded as Wild Rice Market Bistro.

Not bad for a gwei lo boy from Australia.

Wild Rice Market Bistro,  New Westminster:  122-810 Quay


Leave a Comment

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial