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Fun things to do with crabs


SheenaGreena
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anyone else like to eat the "mustard" out of blue crabs? I am originally from Maryland so when I visit my parents in the summer we always get a few dozen crabs. I make them get females though because I LOVE the eggs.

I like to spread the "mustard" and eggs on sourdough white bread. This makes a nice messy side dish while I'm eating crabs. Of course my fingers are liberally covered in old bay, so that gets added to the mix.

any other good ways to use the mustard and eggs?

Do other species of crab have equally tasty body parts? dungeness? rock crab?

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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anyone else like to eat the "mustard" out of blue crabs?  I am originally from Maryland so when I visit my parents in the summer we always get a few dozen crabs.  I make them get females though because I LOVE the eggs. 

I like to spread the "mustard" and eggs on sourdough white bread.  This makes a nice messy side dish while I'm eating crabs.  Of course my fingers are liberally covered in old bay, so that gets added to the mix.

any other good ways to use the mustard and eggs?

Do other species of crab have equally tasty body parts? dungeness? rock crab?

While I believe the mustard is the best add on feature to blue crab meat, I like to taste the sweet lump crab meat that they produce. As long as the mustard and sourdough are side dishes or on top of (I guess below is okay as well) the original crabmeat, everything is okay. Crab mustard and great bread reqire lumps of sweet crab to make the entire experience complete. A sprinkling of the roe on top of the mix adds more hedonistic pleasure to a rich snack.

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OK, you know that you can open a crab easily without a mallet by just prying up the genital flap (or whatever it's called), right? When my (Chinese) mom went to a crab house in Baltimore with her American coworkers they were astounded by this trick.

What exactly is the mustard anyway? Is it brains?

Sheena, have you had the Lays crab flavored potato chips? I recall having those a decade ago when I was living in Baltimore. Tasted just like Old Bay.

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OK, you know that you can open a crab easily without a mallet by just prying up the genital flap (or whatever it's called), right? When my (Chinese) mom went to a crab house in Baltimore with her American coworkers they were astounded by this trick.

What exactly is the mustard anyway? Is it brains?

Sheena, have you had the Lays crab flavored potato chips? I recall having those a decade ago when I was living in Baltimore. Tasted just like Old Bay.

yes I open crabs with my fingers only. I even open the claw by ripping the pinchers or biting into the claw. The latter is not so good for my teeth.

the mustard is fat, I think. I have never had the lays crab flavored chips. Utz makes a crab flavored one but they call it crab flavored because of the old bay, there is no actual crab flavor in it ):

also dipping crab into the mustard and eating the mustard by itself with a spoon is delicious. I think next summer I will try dipping french fries into the mustard

I bet the eggs would be delicious over a bowl of hot rice. YUM

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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While I believe the mustard is the best add on feature to blue crab meat, I like to taste the sweet lump crab meat that they produce. As long as the mustard and sourdough are side dishes or on top of (I guess below is okay as well) the original crabmeat, everything is okay. Crab mustard and great bread reqire lumps of sweet crab to make the entire experience complete. A sprinkling of the roe on top of the mix adds more hedonistic pleasure to a rich snack.

oh yeah I eat that too, the crab meat I mean. I dont put it on my bread though, I like it plain or smeared "accidently" with the mustard

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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From www.blue-crab.org/glossary.html:

"Contrary to popular belief, the 'mustard' is not fat, rather it's the crab's hepatopancreas, the organ responsible for filtering impurities from the crab's blood. Although many find its flavor distinct and delicious, it is recommended that you do not eat this since many chemical contaminants concentrate in this organ."

Considering the increasing load of impurities settling to the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay and its estuaries, perhaps our affection for the crab's built-in, ready-made sauce is not so kosher. Growing up riverside on the Eastern Shore, we'd eat crabs caught in traps off the dock all summer long. Mom's favorite parts were the shell fat, the roe, the mustard and even some of the other innards.

I love nothing more than sitting down to a pile of hot crabs, some 10-oz. Buds, pickles and cheese and a small dish of homemade crab dipping sauce (secret recipe). I usually eat at least seven or eight, often more.

Lately I've been noticing that, a few hours after such a feast, I don't feel so keen. This internal disarray lasts into the next day. I am now wondering if the state of our rivers — and the fact that crabs lurk deep in the estrogen-, chemical- and poop-laden silt, sucking it all in — has anything to do with this.

Last week's report on a majority of male rockfish near the mouth of the Potomac bearing eggs only compounded the sad state of the Chesapeake.

I still love the mustard, but it can't be healthy.

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I won't be dwelling on the various parts of crabs, nor will I be expounding on the use of mallets and the such...

Reporting from Xiamen, China at the moment (always wanted to say that, comes from days of addiction to CNN and BBC World) and I just had a crab and duck soup tonight. Take one massive mud crab, dismember the large claws, rap with hammer, chop body into quarters and simmer in a duck and vegetable stock with a whole duck in there somewhere...

One gets the 'mustard' and the crab flesh is infused with a curious yet interesting and not so unattractive 'duckiness'...

A whole new meaning to surf and turf... wish I took a picture.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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Not long ago. Mrs. B and I, after a camping overnight at a bluegrass festival amongst the swamps and tobacco farms of Southern Maryland, stumbled into some backwater bar to drink breakfast and kill a little time. As the cleaning crew mopped the floor and took the chairs off the tables, we fell into conversation with the friendly woman behing the bar and -- as happens when you tell a proud cook, "holy mackeral, that sounds great," -- ended up sharing some of the lunch she'd brought in for herself: crabs n' gravy.

Apparently you steam up crabs in Old Bay (de rigeur in Marykland), rip the appendages and top shell off and split them in half, and sautee the resulting demi-crustations up in a basic roux-type gravy. You finish cracking the shell and dip them in a gravy, eat, and then lick your fingers. Dee-lish. And perfect for breakfast with a long-neck Bud.

The bartender, a transplant to the area, said that she learned it from an older African-American woman she'd worked with there in Southern Maryland, so I have no idea if it's a regional/ethnic dish, a family specialty, or just a bit of inspired home cooking.

But, boy was it good.

(Bet it would work even better with "mustard" added)

I'm on the pavement

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Wow — I had never heard of crabs'n'gravy. That sounds interesting and is likely a very micro-regional tradition.

The most ridiculous "local dish" for crabs in parts of Maryland is the fried hard crab. Rip the top shell off a large jimmy, clean out the lungs and guts, batter and fry. Utterly nonsensical; you are basically eating fried batter off the carapice then proceeding as usual — but some people swear by them out of tradition.

As for steaming with Old Bay, my father's philosophy is that it's waste of spices as he uses Old Bay in his dipping sauce. I tend to agree — to a point. I don't like it when I order crabs out and they are absolutely caked in spice, if only because it works its way into little knicks in your skin.

But as a compromise, when I am steaming crabs I will sprinkle a little bit in — just a touch over each layer — and also out of habit and superstition add a cheap beer and splash of cider vinegar to the steaming water.

As for the mustard, I am sure a lifetime of ingesting said toxins and chemicals helps mold us Eastern Shoremen into the nutcases we are.

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Crabs are running hot and heavy in my creek in Edgewater, MD right now. Been eating a good many with no ill effects. I like a little mustard, but I don't seek it out for it's own right, just enjoy the bit that comes out with the meat.

Since we've veeered in to interesting hard crab preparations, here's another: Steam crabs without Old Bay over water with some white or rice vinegar added to the water.

Break the steamed crabs in to body halves and claws, clean out the middle stuff like you were getting ready to pick the halves and the claws.

Quickly stir fry the crab nalves and claws in Asian black bean sauce.

http://www.recipesource.com/ethnic/asia/ch...ean-sauce1.html

Top with some chopped fresh cilantro and pick away!

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anyone else like to eat the "mustard" out of blue crabs?
"Contrary to popular belief, the 'mustard' is not fat, rather it's the crab's hepatopancreas, the organ responsible for filtering impurities from the crab's blood. Although many find its flavor distinct and delicious, it is recommended that you do not eat this since many chemical contaminants concentrate in this organ."

So if crab mustard is the filtered essence of Chesapeake muck, perhaps we should investigate with scuba gear and a straw. :blink: I suspect that only seafood can turn muck into delicacy. Yes, I love the crab mustard. We eat crabs rarely enough that I’ll take my chances, toxicologically speaking.

For those of you who pick crab meat for use in other dishes, how does the crab meat survive the journey past your mouth? I don’t think I could do that. If I pick it, it gets eaten immediately.

As for steaming with Old Bay, my father's philosophy is that it's waste of spices as he uses Old Bay in his dipping sauce. I tend to agree — to a point. I don't like it when I order crabs out and they are absolutely caked in spice, if only because it works its way into little knicks in your skin.

Yes, I used to make a dipping sauce with Old Bay and vinegar. Now I just eat the crabs.

The best crabs I ever had were very lightly seasoned. A friend’s brother who runs a crab boat picked out the biggest and best for us, and the crabs were steamed in the back yard. Nothing to interfere with the sweet crab meat. Mmmmmmm. :wub:

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I find lately that even when Dad makes his sauce and I eat crabs over there, I only use it for the claws. The rest of it has enough sweet flavor on its own.

I love the taste of unadulterated, fresh crab meat so much that I find crabcakes somewhat of a bore, even though I am told I make really good ones (I usually caramelize some sweet corn and add that in the mix). If I'm having something between buns, I'd rather go for a burger and save the crabs for picking.

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I love the taste of unadulterated, fresh crab meat so much that I find crabcakes somewhat of a bore, even though I am told I make really good ones (I usually caramelize some sweet corn and add that in the mix). If I'm having something between buns, I'd rather go for a burger and save the crabs for picking.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't really like crabcakes. I think its because most of the ones I've had have been overcooked and had lots of shells in them. That's still better than an imitation crab cake :wacko:

chappie, you are right about the old bay...there is WAY too much of it on the crabs that my parents usually get (and they always say "light" seasoning). Most of the time before I eat a crab I run it under the faucet to wash all the seasoning off. Also, nothing is worse than cutting your finger on the crab's claw and then getting old bay smeared into the open wound, or just eating crabs with paper cuts.

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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I love the taste of unadulterated, fresh crab meat so much that I find crabcakes somewhat of a bore, even though I am told I make really good ones (I usually caramelize some sweet corn and add that in the mix). If I'm having something between buns, I'd rather go for a burger and save the crabs for picking.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't really like crabcakes. I think its because most of the ones I've had have been overcooked and had lots of shells in them. That's still better than an imitation crab cake :wacko:

chappie, you are right about the old bay...there is WAY too much of it on the crabs that my parents usually get (and they always say "light" seasoning). Most of the time before I eat a crab I run it under the faucet to wash all the seasoning off. Also, nothing is worse than cutting your finger on the crab's claw and then getting old bay smeared into the open wound, or just eating crabs with paper cuts.

I'm from Maryland and they drown the crabs in way too much Old Bay here. Burns your fingers after a while.

We like to take live crabs and steam them over water with some white vinegar and Penzey's shrimp and crab boil added, no Old Bay. Then, when you eat them, I like a small bowl of rice vinegar with some Penzey's Chesapeake Bay seasoning added. The Penzey is mellower than the Old Bay, doesn't overwhelm the crab.

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In he Philippines, we just steam the crabs with very little or no water at all. My mother says that when you steam crabs, they exude water and that is sufficient enough to cook the crab. For dipping sauce we would take finely mince garlic and mix it with white vinegar, salt and pepper. We eat crab with steamed rice.

I too, am crazy about crab's mustard. Though lately I've back off since it is high in cholesterol.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

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Domestic Goddess: Like in the Phillipines, Maryland crabs are also steamed. Old Bay is a dry spice mix, so “drowned” was probably a figure of speech -- some places dump a thick layer of Old Bay on the crabs before steaming them. By the way, your dipping sauce sounds really good.

chappie and SheenaGreena: I have to stick up for crab cakes. A well-made crab cake is heavenly – nearly pure lump crab meat with barely enough binder to keep it from falling apart. :wub: All in all, I also prefer steamed crabs. Picking sweet crab meat is the perfect excuse to spend hours drinking cold beer and swapping lies with friends and family.

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I grew up on the Chesapeake bay on the Elk river and also have family in Easton Md. and Cambridge and Chesapeake City. I still visit annualy. I've followed the reports of the condition of the Bay over the last 30 to 40 years and it's very scary and depressing indeed. The Bay is an ecological nightmare and from all the reports it's only getting worse in most places and no one seem to know what can be done to fix it. The problems seem to come from as far away as farm and streams in New York and Pa. and especially Va. I to do not eat the crab mustard like I use to. I though I remember reading somewhere that in some years the Crab harvest so low that the big commercial places on the Chesapeake would get there crabs from North & So. Carolina to keep up with their demand.

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"chappie, you are right about the old bay...there is WAY too much of it on the crabs that my parents usually get (and they always say "light" seasoning). Most of the time before I eat a crab I run it under the faucet to wash all the seasoning off. Also, nothing is worse than cutting your finger on the crab's claw and then getting old bay smeared into the open wound, or just eating crabs with paper cuts."

A woman after my own heart. Crab meat by itself with sorry Chappie a Bass ale vs. the 10 oz Bud. The mustard I do enjoy when I run across but of late have been heistant to eat as well however I have to qualify I still eat my soft shells whenever I can get good ones and I wouldn't care if it was nuclear waste in them as long as the taste is not impacted.

Agree on crab cakes excellent when they're excellent bu truthfully so hard to find excellent ones. Give me a pot of steamed very lightly with old bay and the Bass and good frinds and I'm a VERY happy woman. :wub:

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This thread inspired me to make crab cakes for the first time. We used a pound of jumbo lump crabmeat, broiled half of the crab cakes (left side of the plate) and sautéed the other half in olive oil (front right). The family preferred broiled, but the fried crab cakes were easier to flip. More information here (post #16954).

gallery_42956_2536_9900.jpg

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