In a large pot, combine first four ingredients with enough water to submerge crabs. Do not submerge crabs at this point. Bring liquid to a simmer and add crabs headfirst to water. Cook the 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-pound crabs about 15 minutes, and the 3-pound crabs about 20 minutes. Strain cooked crabs into a colander and rinse briefly under cool water. Serve with Drawn Butter, Tarragon Aioli and Aioli with Piment d'Espelette.
In a small pan over low heat, melt butter and skim any solids that rise to the top. Pour butter into ramekins for use tableside, leaving behind any milk solids that have settled to the bottom of the pan.
In the base of a blender or food processor, whirl garlic cloves, tarragon leaves and egg yolk to create a creamy blend. Add lemon zest and juice and blend again. With machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil to create an emulsified, creamy consistency. Avoid adding oil too quickly or vinaigrette will separate. Add a teaspoon of water when emulsion becomes tight and then continue to add oil. Season to taste with salt and fresh pepper.
Place garlic, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; process to combine. Add egg and, with the motor running, slowly add oils until mixture is thickened and emulsified. Stir in piment d'Espelette and refrigerate.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Recipe courtesy of Jenn Lewis, chef/owner of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Oregon