I happened upon Molly Wizenberg’s post about her messy crab dinner, which reminded me it’s still crab season! She and her loved ones did it just right. A table smothered in newspaper is a prerequisite for an authentic experience.
My family always orders stone crab near the beginning of the season (usually for a New Year’s Eve feast) since supposedly the crab is sweetest then, but I’m hearing reports that the crab this time of year is just as good.
If you’re going to do it right, lay the newspaper on thick, tuck that napkin into your shirt, and order your claws from the Islamorada Fish Company in the Florida Keys. My family has been ordering from them probably as long as they’ve been around.
Another advantage of stone crab claws is the relatively low-impact your consumption has on local ecology:
The Florida stone crab loses its limbs easily to escape from predators or tight spaces, but their limbs will grow back. When a claw is broken in the right place, the wound will quickly heal itself and very littleblood is lost. If, however, the claw is broken in the wrong place, more blood is lost and the crab’s chances of survival are much lower. It only takes about one year for the claw to grow back to its normal size. Each time the crab molts, the new claw grows larger.