Last minute lady

The crab didn’t know what hit him, literally!

This past weekend, I traveled down to the bottom of the New Jersey shoreline (aka “The Jersey Shore”) to my friend’s home right near the ocean.  We were almost as far as Delaware and therefore, blue crabs were all the talk. The crabs were in abundance, but also in demand, so we had to search various fish stores and eventually wait until the next boat came in with crabs, at which point we snatched up a few dozen.  Once we had the crabs, the preparations for the feeding frenzy were underway.

First, my friend John very gingerly took each crab out of the bag and rather than cruelly dunking them into a pot of boiling water and letting the crab die a tortured, slow death, he ripped the back shells off with his bare hands and cleaned their insides out with running water and his fingers-a much nicer form of crabicide!  I know this sounds inhumane, but they die instantly and we’re killing them one way or another, right?  Kidding aside, boiling the crabs drains them of their flavor and pre-cooks them which means you can easily err and overcook your dish by the time you add them to the the second heat of the saute pan. I asked him exactly how he did it and here’s what he said:

“You can either A) put an ice pick or a thin knife through the crab at the tip of
the tail that resides underneath the crab when it is upside down.  The tip is
your point of entry or..B) Use a knife to lift the tail from the bottom of
the crab.  Turn the crab right side up.  Hold the crab with one hand from
either back leg.  If you hold from the back leg they cannot reach back to claw
you.  Then with one hand holding the base of the back leg, thumb over top like
a lever and you rip up the tail and back or shell of the crab.  Lifting from
the opposite back side of shell from the leg you are holding and torque it in
opposite direction. The shell will lift off the crab and kill them instantly.
The twitching of the legs is only the nerves so do not be concerned.”

Twitching?  Let’s move on…As soon as he cleaned them, he lined them up in a row with their beautiful blue claws sticking up.

Next, John’s mother Liz prepared the crabs for us to eat two different ways-one set with garlic and oil and parsley and one set cooked in a light tomato sauce.  I preferred the tomato sauce but they were both delicious.  We ate every last bit of meat off those crabs, even swallowing a couple of shells.

To make the Blue Crabs with Red Sauce, you would start by making a basic marinara sauce with loads of fresh, chopped garlic and crushed tomatoes.  Stew this for a little while and add fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.  Add the crabs to the sauce and let them simmer for a bit, stirring now and again.  You do not need to submerge the crabs in the sauce. Once the crabs lose their blue color and turn pink, they should cook another 5 minutes.

For the Blue Crabs with Olive Oil and Garlic, you would saute several cloves of chopped garlic in olive oil.  Once translucent, add 1/2 cup of dry white wine (optional) and the crabs, with a handful of fresh chopped parsley and salt and pepper.  Stir the crabs until the blue claws turn to pink and then cook five minutes more.


11 Responses to “The crab didn’t know what hit him, literally!”

  1. Mary says:

    I love cooking seafood but I have not tried crabs because I am so afraid-RR have a week of seafood so we can learn more-Thanks for the great post I might actually eat crab over the weekend.

  2. Love blue claw crabs, we also get an abundance of them here in S.W. Fla., Usually just steam them with beer and lots of Old Bay seasoning, Will have to try your recipes.

  3. Nancy says:

    I have been cooking crabs in a tomatoe sause for years. Have it with a side of Spaghetti. It is even better the next day after the crabs sit overnight in the sauce.

  4. Melissa G. says:

    When I was a little girl, we used to go crabbing off my aunt’s dock in her backyard in Virginia Beach. We’d bring the catch home to my grandmother and she would steam them in beer. One time, one of the crabs fell outside the pot when she was dumping the bushel in, and scuttled under the stove. She was down on her hands and knees with a broom trying to scoop him out, saying words we would have gotten hot pepper sauce on our tongues for saying! Now I live in Indiana and just yesterday found a place here where they get a shipment of live blue crab in every morning, and it brings back so many memories–just boil ‘em and toss ‘em in a paper sack full of Old Bay! (epithets not required)

  5. Rusty says:

    I’m just a guy who likes to cook..What is the ratio for using garlic. One clove equals how much garlic powder or pre-minced store bought garlic? Also a (clove) is one whole garlic or is it the individual pedal of the garlic?

  6. Lisa says:

    I love crabs and sauce. We eat them with spaghetti too! The spaghetti with the hole in the center. I have not been able to find this at a restaurant. I somehow find crabs in central PA from the grocery store and make it a couple times each summer.

  7. Carmen Valdez says:

    Growing up in Baltimore in the 60′s crabs were a weekend event. Rolling out brown paper on the picnic table, cracking crabs, more Old Bay please!!! Living in the Panhandle of Texas and I’m drooling just a little bit remembering my childhood!! Thanks Aunt Marie!!

  8. Trudy Neumann says:

    I was born & raised in Baltimore County, MD & grew up fishing & crabbing (still LOVE to do both). My ABSOLUTE favorite way to have blue crabs is good old-fashioned steaming!!! We used the biggest pot we owned – put an inverted pie pan with holes all punched in it (you can also use a scrap of chicken wire alll bunched up – red neck way OR some bricks OR old grill grate that fits the pot) – to keep the crabs from sitting in the liquid – you want STEAMED NOT BOILED crabs. Pour in a bottle or two of beer & equal amount of white vinegar till you can just see it touching the pie pan bottom (which is above the bottom of the pot. We would take each crab (after rinsing the whole bushel) with a pr. of tongs, throw crab season on it’s face (they calm down right away) & place it in the pot…once you have a full layer, throw some season (Old Bay & corse salt) on the entire layer, then start with the next layer…till the pot is full. After seasoning the last layer, put the lid on & set a brick of 2 on top…I have had escapees in the past without the brick. Steam till nice and orange…MIGHTY TASTY!!!!!!!

  9. carla griffin says:

    I adore crabs wow! Oh how a sing them a song when i eat them. Where i am from we have fried crabs, and double fried crabs oh so yummy!

  10. patricia briscan says:

    Hello!!
    You had a doctor talk about different cosmetic treatments on your morning show of 10/12/2010. Can I get the name of the doctor please?

  11. rachael i’am looking for a beef and barley soup recipe do u have one to try thank you billy

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