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Crabbin’

Lunch today was crab omelets and then steamed crab. I don’t mean to sound like a braggart (I am), but I think I have perfected my versions of these dishes, after several attempts.

It all started with a walk. La and I were taking our constitution and passed the dock just as a boomer fellah was taking in his traps. “We eat these every other night,” he said, and after chatting for a bit, I thought: “I can do that…”

My folks have a trap that they use every now and again during the summer, but for the most part takes up space in the closet. I drug it out and put in some freezer burned turkey bacon that been in there since at least June, and tied it off from the dock. Come next day, that trap had three crabs in it!

All excited, I drug ‘em home and told Laura, “We having She Crab Soup Tonight!” Only to find out that I hadn’t caught any females—an Internet search confirmed—nor had enough to constitute a snack of a meal. So after much gnashing of teeth my wife convinced me to return the poor animals to their natural habitat until I had better done my re-search.

I done my re-search every break we’ve had in class at Tech, all this past week. And I found out that you should not eat the females, because they’s the ones that make the crab babies, and that you should only eat the males bigger than 4 inches, tip-to-tip. Now in Maryland, that’s 5 inches, but they’ve over-crabbed their crabberies there. Down here in South Cackalacka, we haven’t depleted all our natural re-sources yet, so we got crabs to spare. So long as we crab them right and not kill the crab factories. That is to say the she crabs.

So how do you make a perfect crab omelet? I’ll tell ya.

You want at least 5 or 6 before you make a project of it. You take them from the trap and you clean them in cold running water to get the scum off them. Sometimes you get beautifully clean jimmy crabs that look like they just been through the crab wash. But other times you got to use the course end of a sponge to clean behind their ears. Then you drop them in your colander pot.

A note about colander pots:
I’m talking about the glazed aluminum kind. They got a lid and a colander that slips inside a pot about the same size. Add equal measures vinegar and water to the bottom of the colander and a healthy amount of Old Bay or similar. Bring to a steam with crabs inside and once steaming, continue on HIGH for 15 minutes.

Then either eat immediately or shock in cold water until picking or serving.

I took one egg, whisked with Morton’s Kosher salt and cracked Kerala pepper, and threw it onto almost brown butter in a hot skillet. Jiggled it, dropped a good pinch of picked crab meat, jiggled some more, and flipped onto a plate. Times two. Served with a glass of cheap white wine on the rocks: heaven after a day in the post office.

Afterwards, I went out to check my trap. Found two to keep and one to throw back. Decided to steam those two and had myself a private crab boil in the back yard. I cooked them on the grill and ate them right out of the pot. It was to DIE for. Sucking the juices, you can taste the marsh, the tamale, and the butter of the crab meat. If you come and visit us, I will catch blue crabs for you and cook them like this and you will see that I am not lying.

Some pictures to illustrate:

To identify a male crab, also called a “jimmy,” look for the phallic carapace covering the genitalia. Throw back if less then 5″ tip-to-tip.

To identify a female crab, also called a “she crab,” look for the semi-circle carapace covering the genitalia. It will also have a triangle tip. Never keep a she crab, as they are too important for crab reproduction.

A beautiful she crab. Check out her blue legs and how she challenges the tongs with her claws. I love how crabs fight for their lives. This one was gently released in order to ensure future crabs.

Unlucky Jimmys made Roman a lucky lunch.

EAT ME!

2 Comments

  1. meister wrote:

    my roommate is looking at me funny because i am almost crying with laughter while reading this, especially after seeing the last picture.

    Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  2. joey wrote:

    thats awesome roman.. iron chef + crabberingy guy

    Monday, November 9, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

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