Florida Stone Crabs

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I grew up in Maryland, about 20 minutes from Washington, D.C. for the majority of my life. And while I have called Boston and now Brooklyn my home over the past couples years — learning to love the Red Sox and perfecting throwing shade to tourists — I’m still a Marylander at heart.

Yet, the one thing that sets me apart from my Maryland compatriots is my seemingly indifference to crabs. Crabs (especially Blue crabs) are a big thing in MD (see this Buzzfeed article for proof ), but frankly I’ve never been a huge fan. Lobster and other shellfish I’m all about, but crabs eh. I love crab cakes and soft shell crabs I love, love, love, but Alaskan King crab, I don’t like as much. Too much work it seems for not a lot of meat. If I’m gonna go through all that trouble, I might as well have lobster.

(*BFF Gina can attest to this as I told her about my weekend crab plans and she replied, “I know about crabs, I’m from Maryland, ya remember”).

But anyway, over the past couple months I’ve been exposed to Stone crabs, which are a big thing in Florida apparently. Keith who picks up from our CSF and who lived in Florida has been giddy each time we get these crabs and was telling me I had to try them!  And so I took his advice and decided to get them last weekend. I figure these crabs must be pretty great and I might as well try them!

stone crab

Stone crabs are known for their rich and sweet meat as well as stone hard shells. Apparently, they feed on oysters, so their claws are strong enough to crack through the hard oyster shells. They are sustainably caught with crabbers only taking one of their claws, leaving them with an operative claw while the other grows back.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Florida Stone Crabs

Our stone crabs this weekend came from Frenchy’s down in Florida, which has created a stone crab dedicated collective in Clearwater and who are good friends with Bianca and Mark. Stone crabs come already cooked but uncracked so the hardest part is cracking them bad boys. Plus, they are only available October through May so I’m glad I got them while I could!

Here’s a little video that has some tips on cracking them. I found a muddler worked along with lobster crackers. The real tip though is to crack them in a bag… crab claw pieces go everywhere and the liquid can be messy.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Florida Stone Crabs

Once you get them cracked, eat away. They are commonly served with a mustard sauce, butter or even just a dash of lemon. I decided to go with the mustard sauce, and whipped together a little dijon, grain mustard and mayo. It was delish! I found myself just standing over my kitchen counter sucking the meat out of the claws and dipping them in the mustard sauce. I couldn’t get enough!

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Florida Stone Crabs

I will be honest, I loved, loved, loved these crabs! I am definitely changing my tune and at least when I’m old and gray I can move to Florida and know I’ll be happy just cracking stone crabs with a margarita or two and enjoying the sunshine.  And right now, it’s freezing in New York so a little taste of Florida is much appreciated!

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