Notes from the Island Fishmonger: Crab mania

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It wasn’t too long ago that the self-proclaimed food critics around the world shared their expertise of food and their food reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google.  This was actually a good way of keeping restaurant owners on their toes, as reviews these days mean everything. A good review will send business to all restaurants.

Now, sites such as Sarasota Foodie among others are getting a reputation for repetitive questions, obnoxious comments, self-promotion, and misinformation.

For example: The question of who has the best pizza or the best seafood has become a daily question on these sites. I’m going to focus on the question of who has the best crab legs in town because, quite frankly, the answers are obvious. The answer to where to get the best crab legs response of “the ocean” was once a funny joke, but no longer. Anyone who suggests that there are no good crab legs in Florida is simply misinformed, as we will explain in this article.

Alaskan snow crab (also known as Opilio crab) are named for their flaky, snowy, white meat. They are commercially harvested during the fall and winter in several areas around the globe.

We all remember when we would go down to our favorite seafood place and they would have all-you-can-eat snow crab for less than $20. Those days are behind us due to the ever-rising prices of crab legs.

However, our traditional crab boils (or steam pots, as we call them at Big Water Fish Market) consisting of crab legs, corn, potatoes, ouille sausage, mussels, clams, and shrimp, served with melted butter and cocktail sauce, are available on a daily basis and will continue to be throughout the year.

These crabs are a low-calorie, low-fat source of clean protein. On average they contain about 500 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids per 3.5 ounces of meat, making them a delicious and healthy option for seafood lovers everywhere. It is a fact that Alaskan snow crab legs are cooked at sea where they are caught to protect their flavor, then flash frozen and shipped all around the world. For those of you that don’t consider frozen crab legs fresh, maybe you should check out online the process of flash freezing and see how it preserves the crab better than any other method.

One example of a fresh local crab is our Florida stone crab, which are currently out of season in July but will be back in the third week of October. Stone crab are one of, if not THE most sustainable sources of seafood in Florida due to the way they are harvested and the limits and regulations that are put on them. Stone crab are caught from the tip of the panhandle all the way down to Key West and then all the way past Jacksonville.

There’s nothing that brings families together (especially in Florida) more than a good ol’ crab boil. Whether it’s snow crab, king crab, or Dungeness from the Pacific northwest, or our local Florida stone crab will tantalize the taste buds of those with a craving for an eternity.

Henceforth, forget the opinion that no crab legs in the area are fresh just because they’re brought in frozen. Alaskan snow crab is still one of the richest in flavor and most succulent delicacies of the sea.

Live well and eat crab!

                        — Daniel Lindsey and Scott Dolan

Scott Dolan
Author: Scott Dolan

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