Appetizers
April 4, 2012
Alaskan blue king crabs meet their match in Monterey

"My brother Sam and I went out fishing in Alaska with Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand," restaurateur Dominic Mercurio was saying on the phone earlier today. "Those guys are nuts! Waves were breaking over their (113-foot crabbing boat) Time Bandit. During the trip I taught them how to make pizza - I barbecued it."

Mercurio is the owner of Cafe Fina and Domenico's restaurants on Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey. The Hillstrand brothers are among the stars of the reality-TV show "Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel. It documents the fishermen who go out in 60-foot seas to harvest Alaskan king crabs in the Bering Sea.

The three are planning an over-the-top "Deadliest Catch" king crab feast at Cafe Fina later this month (details coming soon).

Meanwhile, Mercurio bought the last of the season's Alaskan blue king crab from the Hillstrands and is serving it at both restaurants. "It's very hard to get the real Alaskan blue," he said. "Don't be fooled by the Russian (product) - it sits in brine too long and gets salty and stringy."

Crab dinners are $49 with trimmin's, cooked in the shell four waysl: steamed with drawn butter; broiled with garlic butter; sauteed in olive oil scampi-style, with garlic and white wine, served over angel hair pasta; and served warm on a salad of butter lettuce, radicchio and pancetta, with lemon vinaigrette.

Cafe Fina: (831) 372-5200, www.cafefina.com.

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