Dungeness Crab Pasta with Wine, Fried Meyer Lemon Slices and Fried Capers

Dungeness Crab Pasta with Fried Meyer Lemon Slices and Fried Capers-3


“You cooked all day.”

This wasn’t exactly accurate but my husband wasn’t far from the truth either.  When he left for his two-hour bike ride Saturday morning I was in the kitchen kneading dough for pasta…again (I’m obsessed with fresh pasta these days).  He returned to find me still in the kitchen, this time rolling the dough and laying the pieces on the counter to dry.  What he missed in between was me sneaking off to West Elm in Palo Alto to pick up more bowls and plates for props (the dough had to rest and I had to do something!).  He ran some errands in the afternoon and again, he returned only to find me in the same spot–cutting the dough, shelling crab and whatever else needed to be done to prepare the dish I had in mind.

His statement prompted me to wonder if I do spend that much time in the kitchen and I have to say that the answer may be yes.  I have a job outside of the home and we have a fairly active life so on days that we have no commitments I do tend to plant myself in the kitchen.  Cooking is a stress reliever for me and it brings me great joy to see my husband dig into his plate and mumble, “Mmm, good.”  Of course, there are days when I’d rather dine out but mostly, I do like preparing our food at home.


Dungeness Crab Pasta with Fried Meyer Lemon Slices and Fried Capers-4


I had an idea for my next pasta dish–it had been brewing in my head for over a week:  Pasta with Dungeness Crab.  I bought two crabs the week before (already cooked because I can’t bear to put the live crabs in boiling water myself) but they ended up being served as a first course with another pasta dish at an impromptu dinner with friends.

This weekend I was finally able to see my idea come to life and my husband and I were quite pleased with the results.  Homemade spaghetti, while not absolutely necessary here, paired very well with the fresh, sweet, milky Dungeness crab meat.  The pasta and the crab both have a mellow flavor so I added fried Meyer lemon slices and fried capers to punch things up a bit.  The individual components don’t get lost in the dish but they all complement each other nicely.  I wondered at first if the lemons and capers would overpower the crab but they didn’t.  In fact, they helped to bring out the best of the dish.  I borrowed the idea of frying lemons from my local Italian restaurant.  Carpaccio serves its fried calamari with fried lemon slices and while they’re most likely served as a filler and/or garnish, I happen to like them very much.  The thinly-sliced Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons and there is no bitterness from the skin or pith.  As for the capers, I first tasted them fried as a garnish in a salad 20 years ago and I’ve never forgotten their nutty quality.

So yes, I spent quite a lot of time in the kitchen preparing this dinner and while I enjoyed the process you don’t have to labor like I did.  Feel free to use dried spaghetti here–it shouldn’t compromise the dish.  You also don’t have to spend 45 minutes shelling two crabs like I did (you won’t need two for this recipe either)–go right ahead and buy fresh crab meat at the market.  With these shortcuts dinner will be ready in mere minutes.  Just don’t forget to add the fried lemon slices and fried capers; your taste buds will thank you…then you’ll thank me!


My friend, Rose, of Magpie’s Recipes has also recently prepared a crab dish.  Dungeness crabs are plentiful in our neck of the woods right now and it’s always fun to see all the different preparations.  Rose prepared her mother’s Kerala Coconut Crab.  Served with rice, her dish, I can only imagine, must be aromatic from all the spices she used.  Allow Rose to transport you to a bustling town in South India just for a moment as she describes a day when the fishmonger comes to visit.  You’ll be happy you did.


Dungeness Crab Pasta with Fried Meyer Lemon Slices and Fried Capers-2


5.0 from 10 reviews
Dungeness Crab Pasta with Wine, Fried Meyer Lemon Slices and Fried Capers
Cook time
Total time
Simple ingredients are sublime in this positively fresh pasta dish.
  • 1 pound spaghetti (either fresh or dry would be okay; my fresh pasta yielded about 14.5 ounces)
  • About ½ pound (8 ounces) lump crab meat
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • Dried chili flakes, to taste
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 Meyer lemon, sliced thinly (half will be fried (seeds removed), the other half for garnish)
  • Another ½ lemon for its zest and juice
  • About 2 tablespoons capers, drained and mashed a little
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup fruity olive oil for the sauce plus more for frying the lemons and capers.
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus more for garnish
  • **Breading for the lemon slices: Combine all ingredients below in a small bowl***
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • ½ tbsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. To prepare fresh pasta, please click here for the recipe. Feel free to use dried spaghetti if you wish. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. To prepare the capers: First drain the capers and press with a spoon just once or twice to expel more of the liquid. Heat a bit of olive oil in a small pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the capers. They will sizzle a lot but watch them carefully as they will cook very fast, under a minute. Any longer and they will get too brown. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.
  3. To Prepare the fried lemon slices: Using the same pan and oil that you fried the capers in, dredge the slices in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, then add them to the pan. Fry on each side over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side. You'll lose some of the lemon pulps in the pan causing some sizzling but it's okay. Drain the lemons on the same plate lined with a paper towel. They should crisp up as they cool. Set aside.
  4. To prepare the sauce (this would be a good time to put the pasta in the pot to cook): Heat the ¼ - ⅓ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chili flakes and garlic and cook for only a minute. Be careful not to let the garlic get too brown; turn your heat down if you see that they're cooking too fast. Add the wine and turn the heat up a bit. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tbsp of chopped parsley.
  5. Right before you add the pasta to the sauce, add the most of the crab, leaving some behind to top the plates. Stir them around the sauce for just a minute--the meat is already cooked so you just want it to get to roughly the same temperature as the sauce. Add the cooked pasta and toss well to combine. Arrange on plates and top with the remaining crab, parsley, the fried lemon slices, fried capers and more lemon slices if you wish.
  6. This will serve 3-4 as a first course and 2-3 as an main dish.




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  1. That is one lovely bowl of pasta, Jean! I love the flavors and the fried lemon slices are such a great addition!

  2. Food blogs are such a wonderful way to learn so much and I am being so inspired by yours! I am definitely going to give home made pasta a try and cannot wait to try fried Meyer lemons! Such a bright and fresh dish and such lovely photographs Jean!
    And I am SO in love with those delightful silver shell and starfish accents 🙂

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Rose, and I can’t wait to try your Coconut Crab! The shells and starfish are tablecloth weights–I bought a handful of them a while ago and have been waiting for the perfect dish to use them on. So glad you like them!

  3. Wow this dish looks wonderful and such a labor of love. I’ve never fried lemon slices or capers. In face we’re not fans of capers but when you mentioned it gives them a nutty flavor once fried I may have to try them.

    My husband bikes a tremendous amount and he will often come and go only to find me in the same spot in the kitchen as well creating dishes for everyone to try. I often think to myself I should be biking too while its early morning and playing in the kitchen later but when the mood strikes I act on it.

    An old roommate of mine lives in Palo Alto. I’m guessing its a large community so the odds of knowing her are slim. She’s a baker and makes adding cakes just in case – her name is Cathy and her husband is Dan.

    Nice recipe!

  4. Printed and pinned! This looks Ah-Maze-Ing and I cannot wait to try it!!!

  5. oh yum! I love crab but i never tried making anything with crab at home. So intimidated about the idea. God knows why!

  6. Your pasta is amazing!!!! I was a huge crab fan… I still am but became allergic to it. If I put a tiny bit I am still okay, I think…but how can I eat just a little! This photography is beautiful too. This dish is something that I like to request for my husband to make for my birthday. 🙂

  7. What a beautiful pasta dish! Those flavors are exquisite.



  8. Shelling dungeness is time consuming, but I know this tasted amazing – especially with the zing of the fried capers and Meyer lemon! Lovely dish, Jean 🙂

  9. I wish I have the time and the talent like yours to make fresh pasta. I guess I would have to settle for store bought ones to make your dish. The crab looks so good.

  10. I love that you started from scratch with your ingredients but it is certainly time consuming though very satisfying. I love cooking in the weekend when I have time to do it at my own pace and then photograph the results without hungry mouths making me rush.

  11. Swoon….Just gorgeous and mouthwatering Jean. I love your dedication to making pasta from scratch. Maybe it isn’t that you spend too much time in the kitchen but rather just making up for the work week hours.:) Thank for sharing.

  12. My goodness, this dish is a beauty! I love crab and the combination with the pasta, lemon and capers sounds divine. Thank you for sharing your recipe! 🙂

  13. What a beautiful dish Jean! Especially with crab in season and your fresh pasta. Nothing wrong with that being an obsession – I bet this was one heck of a tasty dish!!!!!

  14. Yum, yum, yum, Jean! I’m so much like you, I spend most of my free time in the kitchen. It seems that time just flies there! Your invention looks amazing and well worth the time and effort both dreaming it up and executing it!

  15. Next time I see you and Rose making crab dishes this good I’m just showing up unexpectedly. I love fresh pasta, but can’t seem to find the time lately. Time does fly when you are having fun. I’m going to have a talk tomorrow with our fish guy and see what’s up, lol. Hope you took tonight off.

  16. Crab. Pasta and your beautiful photography! GREG

  17. Yum, you are inspiring me to try to make something like this….I have some crab legs in the freezer!

  18. That is one delicious looking pasta dish though I don’t know that I have the patience to de-shell a crab…

  19. I’m looking forward to the day I have pasta again! It can’t come fast enough for me…LOL! After 30 days of clean Paleo, I can switch to 80/20 Paleo – weekdays clean eating and weekends for “treats and cheats” like pasta, rice, bread, desserts. Is it so bad that I’m already thinking this far ahead?? After all, I still have to master using my new pasta maker which I got as a gift on Christmas + I still want to try my hand at making my own beautiful bread, Jim Lahey style! In the meantime, this one’s going to my “to-make-in-the-future” file!

  20. I would love for all of that to be right in front of me! Seafood pasta is one of my all-time favorites and your dish looks so fresh and satisfying! Looks like the perfect dinner!

  21. Want to grab the plate from screen.. Awesome.

  22. I am loving fresh pasta lately too, I just made some last night. This pasta looks so light, but so full of flavor. Great dinner!

  23. Lovely!! This is a special dish with Dungeness crab, fresh Meyer lemons and homemade pasta..your husband is a very lucky man;-) I’m loving all your pictures too-great colors and props;-)

  24. I have a prop obsession, too!

    Crab and pasta = my happy husband. 😀

  25. Making this for the man over the weekend! Your blog is such a joy to discvoer!

  26. Tried this recipe last weekend, absolutely amazing. I love this blog, it makes me look like a better cook than I really am! 🙂 Keep up the great work…

  27. Amazing looking bowl of pasta! Great combination of ingredients. I’m sure the result was as delicious as it looks. Awesome post!


  1. […] Just made this pasta tonight to use up some of the giant bag of snow crab legs that Harris Teeter puts on super sale now and again. This is a recipe found on Pinterest originally, and it was definitely a winner! It’s pretty simple. The original recipe has you frying lemons, which I found to be a bit fiddly, to burn easily, and to be too chewy, so I have left them out of my version below. I also decreased the amount of oil called for. Find the original recipe here. […]

  2. […] since putting together this recipe and falling in love with it, I’ve actually found myself craving the crustacean and not even […]

  3. […] all started with a craving for pasta with crab.  I have this recipe in the archives which happens to be one of my favorites but I wanted a fiery component to the dish […]

  4. […]   I had bought two large, already-cooked Dungeness crabs earlier in the day.  They were meant for this dish, one of my all-time favorites; I’d even prepared the fresh pasta but the crab was too good […]

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