A Little Info about Stone Crab:
The Florida stone crab is a true delicacy and is usually fished near jetties, oyster reefs or other rocky areas. The cool thing is that they regenerate their claws year after year. Harvesting is accomplished by removing one or both claws from the live animal and returning it to the ocean where it can regrow the lost limb(s). To be kept, claws must be 2.75 inches (70 mm) long. If both claws are legal size they may both be taken. Studies by the state of Florida have shown that removing both claws do not harm the Florida stone crab in any way when removed properly. In fact numerous studies have shown that by removing both claws, Florida stone crabs are forced to eat sea grass which has been proven to be more healthy for their diet and regenerate their claws faster and female Florida stone crab have more baby stone crabs since they are unable to fend off the advancements of the male crabs. These studies are what caused the State of Florida to change the laws to allowing two claws to be removed instead of just one. Florida stone crabs are legal for harvest from October 15 until May 15.
Harvested claws are immediately cooked in boiling water for 7-10 minutes and cooled to prevent the meat from sticking to the shell. They are then sorted into four sizes:
Medium claws (good for appetizers) run 6 to 7 per pound.
Large claws (an excellent entrée) run 4 to 5 per pound.
Jumbo claws (an even better entrée) run 2 to 3 per pound.
Colossal Claws - Huge! 7 ounces and over.
How to Crack Stone Crab Claws
There are many ways to crack a Stone Crab claw and mostly all methods are messy! Be careful when doing this as the claw shells can be extremely sharp. One easy way is to lay the claw in the palm of your hand, then give it a whack with the heavy end of a solid stainless steel butter or dinner knife. Takes a little practice, but after a few tries you'll be able to pull the crab meat right out of the shells. Another way that cuts down on the mess is to place the claw flat down in a zip-lock bag and then give it a whack with the knife or a wooden mallet. If you have a lot to crack, take them outside where a few flying shells aren't going to matter.
If you like your Stone Crab Warm - Reheating Instructions:
Stone Crab claws are usually always sold or shipped cooked. All you need to do to serve them is place the claws in a pot of warm water until they are warm all the way through (10 minutes or so). There is no need to boil the claws again.
Well wrapped fresh Stone crab claws will keep up to 6 months in the freezer.
I'm not sure where the pairing of Mustard Sauce and Stone Crab originated, but it is good! Here's a simple recipe that is sure to please.
1 1/4 teaspoon dry English mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Hot Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon A-1 Steak Sauce
2 tablespoons Heavy Cream
Blend the mustard and mayonnaise. Beat for about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.