Twist and separate the sections of crab legs at the joints, while pulling out
the long pieces of cartilage that run into the adjacent sections. Using kitchen
shears, cut the shells open and remove the leg meat. Pick the body meat from the
sections of crab at the base of the legs. Pat the crabmeat dry on paper towels.
You should have at least 12 ounces.
Choose eight individual gratin dishes, eight 4 to 6 ounce ramekins, or one small
shallow baking dish. Brush the inside of the dish or dishes with melted butter.
Arrange the crabmeat in the dishes, breaking the large pieces apart if necessary
to fit. Brush the crabmeat with melted butter, cover the dishes, and refrigerate
until almost ready to serve.
Sabayon: Choose a medium-sized stainless steel mixing bowl and a saucepan on
which it will sit. Fill the saucepan with about 2 inches of water. When the bowl
rests on the pan, the bottom should not touch the water. Bring the water to a boil.
Prepare a large bowl filled with ice water and have ready.
Whisk the egg yolks with the vermouth, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and cayenne
in the mixing bowl. Place it over the boiling water and whisk vigorously until the
sabayon becomes very thick and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Plunge the bowl the
larger bowl filled with ice water, and whisk until the sabayon is cold to the touch.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks, then whisk
it into the sabayon. Stir in the cilantro. Refrigerate the sabayon in a covered
container until you are ready to finish the dish. It will keep up to a day.
To serve, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F with the oven rack in the upper third.
Bake the dish or dishes of crabmeat, uncovered, until just warm, 7 to 8 minutes.
Remove the dishes from the oven and turn the boiler on high. Spoon the sabayon
over the crabmeat. Broil until the top of the sauce is nicely browned. Serve right
away with slices of crusty baguette.