INDIAN RIVER KITCHEN
KEY LIME CRAB
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
1 teaspoon Coleman’s dry mustard
2 teaspoons fresh key lime juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon A1 sauce
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup sour cream
Mix the wasabi and mustard in a small bowl, smoothing
out any lumps. Whisk in the key lime juice, Worcestershire
sauce and A1 sauce. Whisk in the mayo until
smooth. Finally, whisk in the sour cream one tablespoon
at a time until it’s light and creamy.
Refrigerate at least one hour.
Serve with chilled stone crab claws.
have them cracked for you, too.
We like to crack all the claws at the fish cleaning table
rather than at the dinner table. It’s a messy job, and one
stray bit of crab shell will stink to high heaven the next day.
There are lots of tools and techniques. We use a lever device
made just for stone crab claws, which you can buy at seafood
markets and online.
The key is to get a single, clean break in all three sections
of each crab claw. You don’t want to crush the shell into the
meat. It’s like biting into a shard of glass. When done right,
gently pull apart each section to reveal whole hunks of saltysweet,
I look forward to our stone crab claw feast all year. There’s
nothing more satisfying than sitting down to a meal we
caught and cooked for ourselves. We give thanks for family
and friends, the great state of Florida and this delectable meal.
As I look around the table, there’s always more than one black
and blue finger, but so far, all digits are accounted for.
need to be checked every few days. It’s a great excuse to
get out on the water with family and friends and, if lucky,
you’ll go home with a nice dinner. But let’s not get ahead of
ourselves, because trapping the crabs is only half the battle.
Once the trap is on the boat, you have to grab each crab and
coax them into giving up a claw.
A stone crab looks like a bouncer, with pumped-up, oversized
claws folded in front of its body, and little eyes peering
out above them. The two claws look different. One is a crusher
claw, usually the larger of the two, and often on the right
side. That’s the one that can inflict 19,000 pounds of pressure
per inch, about four times more than a crocodile. The other,
more tapered claw, is the pincer claw. They use it to cut and
tear prey. If there is an unbroken fingerprint just below the
bottom pincer, this means it is an original claw that has never
To handle stone crabs, wear sturdy, protective gloves. To
properly declaw them, hold them at the base of each claw
where it meets the carapace. The key is to apply firm pressure
at just the right spot, which triggers them to release the
claw. With the right technique, the crab has a much better
chance of survival and can regenerate. While legally both
claws can be taken, it’s rare to find a crab with two of legal
size, and the state conservation commission encourages harvesters
to take only one claw so the released crab will be able
Toby Rose of
to defend itself from predators.
WATCH THE FINGERS
The second option is diving for stone crabs, using snorkel
or scuba gear. If you like a thrill and don’t mind sticking
your arm in a hole in the sea floor, this might be for you.
Stone crabs are harder to spot than spiny lobsters. There are
no tell-tale antennae hanging out of their burrows. After a
while you get an eye for what the holes look like, but then
you’ve got to be sure it’s a stone crab living in there. We’ve
seen moray eels and many other creatures in the holes, so
definitely take a look before you reach inside.
All stone crab claws have to be cooked the day they’re
caught. If not, the meat will stick to the shell and be difficult
to crack. For perfectly cooked stone crab claws, boil the
claws between eight and 12 minutes, depending on the size,
then immediately plunge the claws into ice water. Keep them
submerged in the ice with a plate or pot lid. Allow them to
sit in the ice bath for at least 20 minutes, then drain them
well and refrigerate. If you buy the claws from the seafood
market, they’re always pre-cooked, and you may as well