Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stone Crab Claws ~ Tis the Season

Today, October 15th, marks the start of the season for stone crab claws. Stone crabs are found along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, which makes Florida famous for harvesting them. They are mainly harvested off the southern tip of Florida’s peninsula from Sarasota to Fort Lauderdale. Since today is the first day fishermen are allowed to drop their traps, stone crab claws will be available to buy tomorrow, October 16th. Stone crabs are captured commercially with traps which are re-baited every other day. Florida law forbids fishermen taking the whole stone crab. They are allowed to take claws at least 2 3/4 inches long and are required to return stone crabs safely to the water. The stone crab can regenerate its claws three to four times.

Stone crab claws are available in 4 sizes: Medium, Large, Jumbo, and Colossal. Stone crab claws are cooked immediately after harvest, and are then delivered fresh to Doris Market everyday. Fresh cooked can be eaten within three to four days if packed in ice or stored in the coldest part of a refrigerator. Be sure to freeze only claws that are completely intact and free from cracks in the shell. The shell will protect the meat for up to six months in the freezer. When you are ready to eat them, thaw the claws in the refrigerator. The quality will be compromised if they are thawed under running water or at room temperature.

Stone crab claws can be accompanied by many different sauces depending on your tastes. The sweet meat of a Florida stone crab can be eaten unseasoned or paired with melted butter. You can pair stone crabs with a tartar sauce or cocktail sauce. A great sauce to pair the sweet meat with is a spicy mustard sauce, which we make homemade at Doris Market and is available at the Seafood Counter. There is an article in the Sun Sentinel Food Section today on these different sauces, which include recipes. Here is the recipe for the spicy mustard sauce thanks to Chef Mike Rakun at Truluck's Resturant in Fort Lauderdale.

Spicy Mustard Sauce:

- 1 cup Hellmann's Mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Coleman's mustard (dry mustard)
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon A-1 steak sauce
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

With an electric mixer on medium speed, mix mustard and mayonnaise. Add remaining ingredients and beat until mixture reaches a creamy consistency. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

To crack the shell:

Use a crab cracker or mallet (which can be purchased at Doris Market instore or online) or the back of a heavy spoon. Remove the cracked shell pieces, leaving the meat attached to the moveable pincer. Remember there is plenty of delicious meat in the knuckle of the claw.
For your convenience we will crack the claws for you upon request.

Serving amounts:
About 2.5 pounds of cooked stone crab claws yield 1 pound of meat. 3 claws is an average amount per serving.
Stone Crab Claws quick facts:
-Firm texture
-Sweet meat
-Low fat
-Extra lean

The Stone Crab season lasts through May 15th, so make sure you stop by your local Doris Market and grab some stone crab claws while they are available.

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