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The Dungeness crab fishery in Puget Sound and Hood Canal continues to be this summer’s “hot topic” as far as fishing goes, and there is still plenty of time to pull in a pot of the Pacific Northwest’s most tasty shellfish.

In this week’s seafood recipe of the week, executive chef Jesus Boites of El Gaucho in Tacoma has a delicious Dungeness crab risotto recipe.

Boites culinary adventure started at home in Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico where he recalled his mom and grandma cooking, and always wanted to be involved in the kitchen.

Chef Jesus Boites, executive chef of El Gaucho in Tacoma.
Chef Jesus Boites, executive chef of El Gaucho in Tacoma.

His family moved to the United States in 1995, and he immediately started working in a restaurant as a dishwasher, then promoted to a prep cook, then pantry, sauté, and broiler. Boites worked in many Seattle restaurants including Daniel’s Broiler, Calcutta Grill at Newcastle, Famous Dave’s, Black Angus, Pacific Grill, and then El Gaucho Seattle in 2001.

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When El Gaucho Tacoma opened in 2002, he was transferred as a sous chef to help open the restaurant before becoming an executive chef.

Boites joins a list of other esteemed El Gaucho chefs who have offered their takes on a variety of seafood recipes including executive chef Sarah Scott of El Gaucho in Bellevue, executive chef Wesley Hood of AQUA by El Gaucho along with other chefs from El Gaucho and The Inn at El Gaucho

Word on Dungeness crab fishing

This summer it doesn’t matter where you set your crab pot as the sea-bed is literally covered with Duneness crab stretching from the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Neah Bay and Port Angeles (Marine Catch Areas 5 and 6); east side of Whidbey Island (8-1 and 8-2); northern Puget Sound (9); central Puget Sound (10); south-central Puget Sound (11); Hood Canal (12); and southern Puget Sound (13). All are open through Sept. 5.

Fred Matsunaga, of Honolulu, holds Dungeness crabs caught in Puget Sound on July 15. It’s another boom year for crabbers in the region. (Mark Yuasa/The Seattle Times)
Fred Matsunaga, of Honolulu, holds Dungeness crabs caught in Puget Sound on July 15. It’s another boom year for crabbers in the region. (Mark Yuasa/The Seattle Times)

The San Juan Islands/Bellingham (7 South), and the Gulf of Georgia (7 North) are also open now through Sept. 30.

In all areas mentioned crab fishing is allowed Thursdays to Mondays only.

Dungeness crab populations remain very strong, and it has stayed consistent for the past few years with state fisheries officials expecting another record-setting year again.

State and tribal Puget Sound Dungeness crab fisheries landed a total of 11,814,100 pounds in 2015, exceeding the previous year’s record by 1,184,100 pounds.

In 2015, a total of 232,621 sport licenses were sold to Puget Sound crabbers, and more than 2.7-million pounds (2.4-million in 2014) were caught in the sport crab fishery.

For a comprehensive map that details all marine waterways, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/.

Photo of Dungeness crab risotto recipe courtesy of chef Jesus Boites of El Gaucho in Tacoma.
Photo of Dungeness crab risotto recipe courtesy of chef Jesus Boites of El Gaucho in Tacoma.

Dungeness Crab Risotto with Peas

Ingredients

8 ounces of shelled Dungeness crab

Risotto

2 tablespoons of clarified butter

1/2 cup of finely chopped onion

1 cup of Arborio rice

1/4 cup of brandy

1 cup of white wine

1 cup of shell stock

1 1/2 cup of chicken stock

1/2 cup of freshly shelled peas

Zest from one lemon

1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Photo of Dungeness crab risotto by executive chef Jesus Boites courtesy of El Gaucho in Tacoma.
Photo of Dungeness crab risotto by executive chef Jesus Boites courtesy of El Gaucho in Tacoma.

Directions

In a three to four quart pan over medium/high heat, sauté onion in the butter until softened and slightly browned for five to six minutes.

Add rice and stir until rice is opaque and onions are limp for about three minutes. Add brandy and cook, uncovered until absorbed, stirring constantly. Add white wine and cook until absorbed, stirring constantly.

Add the mixed heated the stock one cup at time cooking until each cup is absorbed, stirring constantly. This technique will produce a risotto which is cooked al dente.

If you prefer a softer texture, add one addition cup of chicken stock and cook until absorbed, stirring constantly.

Total cooking time is approximately 25 minutes.

Take off heat and gently add peas, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and crab. Reserve a bit of crab to garnish the dish.

(Serves four people)

A nice catch of San Juan Island Dungeness crab courtesy of Kevin Klein.
A nice catch of San Juan Island Dungeness crab courtesy of Kevin Klein.

Coming up

This season, esteemed local chefs will share recipes and advice on how to cook a wide variety of local seafood weekly through October.

This year’s Pacific Northwest all-star lineup of chefs include Tom Douglas, owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, among others; Taylor Hoang, chef and owner of Pho Cyclo Cafes and Rickshaw Chef in Seattle; chef Shota Nakajima, owner of Naka; Megan Coombes chef and general manager of Altstadt in Seattle’s Pioneer Square; chef Pat Donahue of Anthony’s Restaurants; chef Maximillian Petty owner of Eden Hill on Queen Anne; Jason Wilson, executive chef/partner of Miller’s Guild at the Hotel Max and executive chef of Coffee Flour in Seattle; chef Taichi Kitamura, owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura on Eastlake in Seattle; chefs Jun Takai and Yasuhiro “Yasu” Kusano at Shiro’s Sushi in Seattle’s Belltown; and executive chef Jason Brzozowy for Tilth owned by Maria Hines.

Recipes will be posted every Wednesday and/or Thursday through Nov. 2. Also, if you have a recipe you’d like to reel-in my way, please let me know and I will post them, and will even test it out with my family and friends.