December 6, 2011
(Easy Holiday Appetizers #2)
Our friends Bill and Cookie first introduced us to stone crabs (sounds like they gave us an unpleasant disease, doesn’t it?). They would ship in stone crab from Florida for special occasions or just a really bitchin’ Sunday until they discovered stone crab on our local Santa Barbara docks. How cool is that? This is such a great way to start any meal. We began our Thanksgiving this year by serving this stone crab appetizer and it was a total hit. Here’s the recipe and directions for how to cook and serve.
Only the claw of the stone crab is harvested, but to avoid depopulation, just one of the pincher claws may be removed from the crab. Then, wonder of wonders: the crab grows a new claw in about a year. How’s that for sustainability? Although I do have images of poor crabs swimming in one-armed circles waiting for that new little claw to grow.
Cooking Crab Claws
In a large saucepan that has a lid, put about an inch of water and a good healthy pinch of salt (or two or three) and bring to a boil. Place the claws in the water (I do about 8-10 claws at a time). Once the water comes back to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the claws to a colander and rinse with cold water for about a minute.
I like to serve these claws in a big glass bowl filled with ice. (Place a layer of saran wrap on top of the ice, crack the claws, and pile them on top of the ice.) Then invite everyone to gather ’round, grab a claw, remove the meat, and dunk it in this tasty dip. This is an instance when finger bowls are a good idea—it’s such a fun, casual, delicious way to hang out with friends.
Cookie’s Crab Claw Dip
The sauce we call Cookie’s Dipping Sauce but she borrows it from the folks at Joe’s. This recipe is reprinted from Jo Ann Bass and Richard Sax’s book Eat at Joe’s: The Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant Cookbook.
Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon Colman’s dry mustard, or more to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon A1 Steak Sauce
2 tablespoons light cream
Place the mustard and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl and beat for 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire, A1, cream, and a pinch of salt and beat until the mixture is well blended and creamy. If you’d like a little more mustardy “bite” (and Colman’s packs a good bite), whisk in 1/2 teaspoon more dry mustard until well blended. Chill the sauce, covered, until serving.