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A SHORE THING
Oktoberfest? A bit warm for Teutonic commemoration, don’t you think? Halloween? Great for an
evening’s entertainment. October, however, to the truly discriminating South Floridian, means one
thing and one thing only: The opening of Stone Crab season. Below we elucidate and celebrate
this most craveable crustacean.
T E X T BY RYAN JAR R ELL
B orn and bred as I was in the pristine Piedmont of
the Old North State, concessions to the superiority
of my now beloved homestead seemed few and far
between. I am, as my much-suffering life partner will tell you, a
curmudgeon at heart, and any allowance of Miami’s superiority
came only after months of wheedling and one-sided arguments.
Contrarian nature aside, in the category of crustacean, it took
only a toothsome taste of the appetizing yet august Florida
Stone Crab to whisk away any notions of eminence on the part
of its lesser Blue cousin. One liberal dip of an iced and cracked
claw into a deviously simple sauce and I was immediately
propelled into a state of euphoric exultation normally reserved
for electrified hermits and flagellant ascetics. Lasting from Oct.
15 to May 15, the Florida Stone Crab (or Menippe Mercenaria)
season will bring a flurry of activity to our coast, despite Irma’s
recent blow, with an annual catch ranging up to 3.5 million
crustaceans caught. Peculiar to our own homegrown brand of
shellfish, only the Stone Crab’s claws are harvested, allowing
the animal to regrow its delicious digits for another season
and mimicking a natural trait of the crab’s natural defense
mechanism. A truly tasteful tidbit regarding this most coveted of
crustacean? Fans of free-range and naturally raised foods should
124 have no fear when masticating crab mitts. All Stone Crabs are
wild-caught in fisheries, and are free of the more fearsome
malignancies associated with over-bred aquaculture. So, for
8 months at least, Miami, sit back, relax and enjoy the full (if
fleeting) benefits of enjoying a meal as our ancestors enjoyed it
for generations, tucked exactly within its season, with a side of
Preparing Stone Crab in your own kitchen should
provide little to no challenge, even for the culinarily illiterate.
Simply bring a pot with salted water to a boil and
remove from the heat. Place the claws inside the pot,
and cook for precisely 5 minutes. Any more, and
the meat will overcook. Remove, and set to ice for 45
minutes. That’ll give the flesh the ideal texture and provide
a more malleable meat to dunk. The most fun part of Stone
Crab claw cooking? Designing and perfecting your
own signature sauce. From Joe’s melodious Mustard-Mayo
medley to the more traditional cocktail or even melted butter,
there’s no wrong way to season your shellfish!