Owner & Executive Chef Sylvan Mishima Brackett
[This is a very simple dish, best, of course, when the crab is dense and meaty. California Dungeness crab is at its best between November and February just when the new crop of koshihikari rice becomes available. The flavor for the dish comes from the kanimiso (tomalley) which, to the horror of my friends in Japan, is usually thrown out by American cooks.]
2 cups koshihikari rice
1 live Dungeness crab
1/4 cup sake
1 tsp salt
Sweet vinegar-cured ginger
Pickled sansho berries
Wash the rice several times until the water runs clear. Drain for 1/2 hour and soak for another 1/2 hour in a heavy pot or rice cooker with 1 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sake and 1 tsp salt. If cooking rice on a stovetop, cover tightly, bring to a full boil, and reduce heat to lowest possible setting for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes to finish steaming before opening.
Put the live crab in the freezer for up to an hour to stun it into submission. Place a steamer rack in your largest pot, add water and bring to a rolling boil.
Steam the crab for 10 to 15 minutes or until its claws or legs can be pulled off easily. Allow to cool briefly and then remove the tomalley: pull off the shell and use a spoon to collect the brownish orange substance around the gills. Discard any hard or suspicious bits. Carefully crack the legs and claws to remove the lump meat. Break up the body and use a bamboo skewer to separate the meat from the shell.
When the rice is still hot, fold in the tomalley and then the body meat. Taste for salt. Place on a serving dish and garnish with lump meat, thinly sliced pickled ginger and pickled sansho berries.