Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Steamed Crabs

Steamed Blue Crabs with Old Bay Seasoning

We are getting crabs this Saturday - it's a girls afternoon with Maddie and Jessica and Betsy. We've been talking about getting blue crabs for a few weeks and we're excited. If you've never eaten steamed Maryland Blue Crabs, you haven't truly experienced Chesapeake Bay beach house living.  Crabs are messy and not very filling but so much fun and delicious to eat. When I play the list in my head of my greatest beach life memories, there is a place for blue crabs. Catching them, cooking them, steaming them. Years ago, the little beach community I live in used to have an annual crab feast and it was a fabulous time when the neighborhood came together for a full day of fun, food and fellowship.

Everything you could possibly want to know about crabs, the history of the crabbing trade on the Chesapeake Bay, and the lives of the watermen can be found in a delightful book, Beautiful Swimmers by Willam W. Warner. This is the crab lovers Gift From the Sea! The writing is beautiful - describing both the lifecycle of the crab and the lifestyle of the weather-worn and hard working watermen in a romantic prose.  The book even gives you instruction for eating crabs - which is not exactly an easy feat. You will really be amazed at how taken you are by the lyrical writing of this not-to-be-missed book.

I've heard from neighbors that crabs are plentiful this year and there's been a rumor that the crabs from the Patuxent River are fatter than the Bay crabs. So I'll be driving across the river to Benedict, MD on Saturday to pick up our crabs. I drove down there yesterday and did a little recon so I can get around the boaters that will be down there launching. It's a beautiful little community sitting right down on the river.  Naturally, I had to take a picture!

Patuxent River, Benedict, MD
After we get home with our crabs, we'll layer brown paper on the table, pour a little apple cider vinegar out, maybe melt a little butter and put out some crab seasonings that they'll give us with the crabs. Some people use crab mallets but we use the handle of the knife to crack open the claws. The mallets have a way of smasking the shell to smithereens! We'll have the paper towels handy and extra water bottles or whatever we're drinking so we don't have to put our crabby hands all over everything. Just to give you a taste of what we're going to be doing, watch this video about how to eat blue crabs. And if you like what you're seeing, come join us on Saturday!

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