How to Eat Stone Crab

Posted by Brette in Food

stone crab1If you’ve been to Southwest Florida, you’ve probably seen or been to stone crab restaurants (Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami is the most famous).  Stone crabs are just the claws of the crab (one claw is removed and the crab is returned to the ocean to regenerate it) and they are deserving of the name “stone” since the shells are incredibly hard. Stone crab is a pricey delicacy and is in season from October to May, so this is a winter and spring treat. Stone crab is an excellent reason to head to Florida in the winter! You can’t find it up north.

Instead of spending tons to enjoy stone crab in a restaurant, we prefer to buy our own (still expensive but less than if you’re dining out). Stone crab is best bought at fishmonger, although you can find it in grocery stores (where it is likely not as fresh). You will always want to buy it fresh, not frozen. Stone crab comes in several sizes (you’ll usually see medium and large or XL). The bigger the size, the more expensive it is per pound. We usually buy medium and pay $25 a pound. The rule you must never forget about stone crab is to ask for it “cracked.” This means the shells are broken so you can just pick them off. It’s possible to go at it yourself with a hammer, but in all likelihood you’ll end up hurting yourself, making a mess, and still not being able to get at most of the crab!

I serve stone crab with a lemon mayo dill sauce as well as lemon butter (melt a tablespoon of butter in a small ramekin and squeeze in the juice from a wedge of lemon). The crab itself comes to you completely cooked and you serve it cold. You’ll need thin seafood forks to get every last flake out of the shells. You’ll want to set your table with an empty bowl for shells as well as napkins and damp towels.

Lemon Mayo Dill Sauce

Serves 2

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp dill

juice of half a lemon

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