Being lucky enough to live in a place, like South Florida, where every year something so precious and fabulous can be seen at every fish market, is something that two food obsessors, like us, count down the days for… These stone crabs are not just sustainably caught and released, their sweet meat is worth every penny. Buy these claws cooked at almost any local super market and serve with this mustard sauce and lemon to feel transported to the beach. Pair with a good glass of white wine, and good luck keeping these off your pay-day menu!
stone crabs (we usually buy 1 lb of medium claws for the two of us)
For the mustard sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp A1 sauce
1/2 tsp Worcestershire
dash of hot sauce (we use Crystal)
1/4 tsp salt
zest of 1/2 a lemon
Make the sauce. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, and place in the refrigerator until serving.
Crack the claws. Most fish mongers will crack them for you if you ask, but Bradley is the “Crack Master” here at our home. To crack the claws to easily access the meat, you need to place the top of the claw (rounded side) facing up on your board. You will hold your knife with the blade facing up, so the spine of your knife right above the handle will do the cracking. With force in a hammering motion, use the back of your knife to crack the shell right in the middle of the first knuckle. Don’t be scared to use a little extra force if it didn’t work the first time, these shells are thick! Next, use the same force and motion to crack the second knuckle. Now, you must flip the claw over so the bottom of the claw is facing up, and with a little extra force do the same motion to crack the claw shell. Make sure the claw has been cracked by the pincers so that all of the meat is accessible!
**Using the right amount of force to crack these claws is key because you don’t want to be too heavy-handed and push the cracked shell bits into the meat!
**Stone crab claws come in a few sizes: medium, large, jumbo, and even colossal. We were always taught that you pay for the shell, so although those jumbos look divine, the shells become very heavy with a larger claw. These crabs are not cheap, so consider your budget before asking for 1 lb of jumbos. You might actually get less meat than 1 lb of mediums…
**Stone crabs are caught and harvested for only 1 of their claws. The rest of the crab is thrown back in the ocean, so for the following year, a new claw will have grown back. This makes them sustainable, but also, seasonal. You can find them from October 15th- May 15th. However, they are always best in the beginning of the season or when the water is coldest.