A delicacy and special treat for many, crab is one crustacean that most everyone has tried at least once. But, there are many types of crab and not all are created equal. All species of crab are an excellent source of protein and so long as you don’t dunk your crab in too much butter, this low-calorie, low-fat seafood is a healthy and delicious choice for most everyone’s diet. But, omega 3s are nonexistent in the species so be sure to incorporate fin fish into your diet too because we all know omega 3s are like a superpower when it comes to defending your body against heart disease and other ailments. The most common types of crab are: Dungeness, snow, blue, and king.
Seafood School Lesson #9: Crab is easy to cook once you learn how.
Dungeness crab are a West Coast staple and are sold live up and down the coastline—growing up, these are the type of crab we caught as often as we could get out on the boat. Sometimes you can get whole Dungeness at CostCo, so if you get a chance to buy one (or two) do so. They’re delicious.
Snow crab are found in the Bering Sea and are readily available in the frozen section of most supermarkets—just be sure to look for the blue fish seal from the Marine Stewardship Council before purchasing.
Blue crab are commonly seen in restaurants, sometimes as hard shells, sometimes as soft shells. A soft shell blue crab is one that’s been harvested before molting, hence the softness. Lots of restaurants and pubs fry them and serve them, shell included, in a sandwich. Admittedly, I‘m not a fan … but growing up on the West Coast, this simply wasn’t the type of crab we ate.
Stone crab are caught in south Atlantic and warm Gulf waters. They’re a highly regulated species as legally only the claws can be harvested. Fishermen remove the front two claws, then return the crabs to the water where they regenerate. I’m not a fan of the practice, but from what I’ve been told, it doesn’t harm the crab.
King crab have six legs, plus one big killer claw and one smaller feeder claw—other species have 10 appendages
King crab are probably the most sought after, thanks in part to their flavor, but also to the huge success of the TV show, Deadliest Catch. Caught in the Bering Sea, this cold-water species can have a leg span of up to six feet—so unlike many smaller crab species, you don’t need many legs to fill up!
How to Cook Crab
I’m a big fan of Dungeness crab, but I also love king. They are distinctively different, and I encourage everyone to try both if given the opportunity. When we cook the legs at home, we steam them: put water in a cookie sheet, cover it with a rack on top and place crab legs on the rack. Place in hot oven and let steam for about 20 minutes. Be careful taking it out as the water is boiling. Serve with a little bit of drawn butter and a smile. Enjoy!
Coming up NEXT on the blog … how to make a poké bowl at home–hint, you don’t need to use raw fish—stay tuned as I continue to post lessons over the next few weeks where you’ll learn about a variety of seafood and some great cooking methods that will turn you into a seafood wizard-chef in no time.
DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox
Feature image credit: Frank Mayne