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Season 2 Ep 3 - Diane English's Island Blue Crab Marinara

About the Recipe

When I was a kid growing up in Buffalo, New York, my family would make the occasional summer voyage to the Jersey Shore for a family reunion. The Italian side of the family was all from South Philly and that was a good meeting spot. We'd rent a small cottage and we'd all cram in for a fun week with the aunts, uncles, and a thousand cousins all piled into a tiny space. One of my best memories was watching the men haul buckets of blue crabs up to the porch while the women worked all day on the marinara sauce that would cook the crabs. There followed a feast of crabs, sauce, and linguini that was just amazing - even for an eight-year-old.

I had forgotten all about the crab sauce until recently when the blue crabs were so plentiful in Vineyard ponds that the shellfish constable declared that we could take fifty a person without a license. I decided to try my hand at the crab sauce. After a day of crab fishing with my neighbors, we hauled in about twenty good plump ones. They died a glorious death in the marinara sauce and we are still talking about that fantastic meal.


Blue Crabs

Olive Oil

Onions & garlic

Two large cans of tomato puree (about 24 oz total)

Two big cans of peeled whole or diced tomatoes



Salt & Pepper



  1. Coat the bottom of a large heavy pot with good olive oil.

  2. Sautee onions and garlic until translucent.

  3. Add two large cans of tomato puree (about 24oz)

  4. Add one can of water

  5. Add two big cans of peeled whole or peeled and diced tomatoes

  6. Add at least two tsp. Oregano

  7. Add a generous amount of fresh chopped basil.

  8. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the sauce on low heat, beginning in the morning. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more water (or a good red wine) as the sauce begins to cook down. It should start to turn a darker red. Clean the crabs. Several hours before serving, add the crabs. Cook slowly until you begin to see bits of white crab meat floating in the sauce. Remove crabs to a separate platter. Serve sauce with linguini. Serves six.

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