This quick and easy Lemon Pepper Sauce is our go-to dipping sauce for steamed Dungeness Crab. Tangy and fresh, it requires only 3 ingredients and is ready in 5 minutes. Enjoy ^_^
The whole family loves steamed Dungeness crab. It's a dish we make often, especially when there is a good deal on crab.
It's easy and fun and everyone eats plenty.
As kids, our default sauce to accompany steamed crab was melted butter, or melted butter with garlic. Definitely delicious. But in the last few years, we've gradually switched to a lighter and brighter sauce. A sauce that will let the crab flavor shine through more clearly.
It was my dad who first came up with this idea. He wanted something simple and light. It had to be easy to make. And most importantly, delicious!
We started with lemon. Just fresh squeezed for dipping. It was nice but still missing more oomph. So we added salt to balance the tart. Then some pepper for spice. And there you go! It's ready for dipping ^_^
Here's what you'll need to make Lemon Pepper Sauce:
- Lemon - Just a single fresh lemon. Even better if you have a Meyer lemon, but any regular lemon will do.
- Salt - Kosher or sea salt is ideal.
- Pepper - I love to use freshly ground pepper when we can, but since the whole point of this sauce is quick and easy, we usually use ground pepper that we get from Costco Hawaii.
See recipe card for quantities.
Let's make the sauce! It's super easy:
Squeeze all the juice from the lemon into a small bowl. Use a small spoon to remove any seeds.
Add the salt and black pepper. Stir to mix evenly.
Divide the sauce between 2 dipping dishes. Dip and enjoy!
A Garlic Butter Version
If you crave the brightness of lemon but still want the flavors of a classic garlic butter dipping sauce, you can still have the best of both worlds!
Melt a few tablespoons of salted butter in a small pan. Then turn off the heat and stir in the juice from a lemon, a few cloves of thinly sliced garlic, and then the salt and pepper. Stir well to mix and enjoy.
I suggest making the recipe "as is" for your first go so that you know what the original sauce is meant to taste like. Then feel free to try this garlic butter version and adjust as you see fit. You can create your own signature lemon pepper sauce!
How To Serve
There are many different ways to enjoy this dipping sauce.
Using this as a dip for fresh Steamed Dungeness crab is what we originally made the recipe for. We make individual dipping dishes for each person at the table. Then crack your own crab and dip into the sauce. The lemon pepper sauce really enhances the flavor of the crab. I feel like it "lifts" and supports the crab instead of weighing it down.
Since this sauce goes so well with crab, it also makes sense that it would go well with other seafood dishes especially scallops and salmon. You'll want to prepare the seafood simply, either roasted or pan fried and then drizzle or dip away.
This sauce goes well with pretty much any type of roasted vegetables. We love it with roasted broccoli, asparagus, and especially with roasted potatoes.
It's especially great with grilled corn and zucchini. And even grilled avocado, yes!
The sauce will keep for 1 day in the refrigerator, though it's best enjoyed fresh. We try to make only as much as we'll need for that day.
Make only as much as you need. Since this sauce is super easy to make and tastes best fresh, there's no need to make a large portion. Just keep some lemons at home, and you can have a new batch of sauce ready in minutes.
If Meyer lemon us available, use the Meyer lemon! We're lucky that Meyer lemons grow pretty well in Hawaii so friends and family are always sending fresh Meyer lemons our way. But this recipe is also great with a just a plain regular lemon.
Since this recipe calls for a good amount of pepper, we usually default to using already ground pepper (and also because this is meant to be a quick and easy sauce).
But if you have the time, try use fresh ground/cracked black pepper. It makes a huge difference in flavor...you'll be like wowowow ^_^
Please don't. This is such a simple sauce with only 3 ingredients, so the flavor of every ingredient is important. Lemon is the main ingredient which means you want it to be from a fresh lemon!
Lemon Pepper Sauce Recipe
Lemon Pepper Sauce
- 1 whole lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper ground
- Squeeze all the juice from the lemon into a small bowl. Remove any seeds.
- Add the salt and black pepper. Stir to mix evenly.
- Divide between 2 dipping dishes. Dip and enjoy!
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