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kenzie

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Reply with quote  #1 
Menippe mercenaria...stone crabs, is perhaps the best food ever created and accompanied with Joe's mustard sauce is the single best reason to go to Florida.

Everything that follows is from "Joe,s cook book".

The secret is chilling the meaty claws immediately after boiling them.  Eaten cold the flesh is firm and sweet. 

Mature stone crabs are fifty percent claw by weight.  During the 1960's conservation laws stipulated that only the claws could be harvested; they're detached from the wide bodies, and the bodies, which contain little meat, are thrown back into the water.  In two years the claws will regenerate to a length of 2 3/4 inches, which is the minimum legal size for harvesting.

The best stone crabs come from the Florida golf coast.  There are also New England stone crabs called Jonah crabs; Chile, Peru, Ecuador stone crabs; and English stone crabs.  On the West Coast they call them a red crab but they are stone crabs.

More follows pending a modicum of interest.

 

 

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kenzie

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Reply with quote  #2 
By popular demand, more on stone crabs.

"James Bond sipped champagne and proceeded to eat, or rather devour, the most delicious meal he had had in his life.  The meat of the stone crabs was the tenderest, sweetest shellfish he had ever tasted." Ian Fleming, Goldfinger. 
 
reebop, I believe Mr. Bond was wearing a tuxedo for the occasion.  Stone crabs are eaisly offended when enjoyed by someone wearing a swiming suit and flip-flops and drinking a beer.

Stone crabs can exert extreme pressure with their claws.  They gradually increase pressure on their prey, usuually an oyster, until its shell is broken to bits.  With one claw, a stone crab can exert 13,000-15,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.

Crab fishing is back-breaking labor.  Crabbers head out in their boats well before dawn.  Their boats are loaded with many pounds of fresh fish heads for bait, because stone crabs are very particular.  The captain heads out into the open sea with a crew of between one and three men.  They can fish anywhere from a mile off shore to 90 miles out, where the water can be as much as 90' deep.  You place your traps where the crabs are moving on the ocean floor.

The captain tries to time it so as to get to the first trap attached to a buoy at first light.  The trapper releases the buoy and the rope is attached to a motorized pulley which brings the trap to the surface.  The trap is a 16X16" box made of wood slats; as soon as the trap is brought from the water, it is put on the gunnel.  The crabs got into the trap by walking into a hole and dropping down into the trap.  Crabs cannot swim, they can only walk, so they cannot get out of the trap.  Each trap can hold 10-12 crabs -- sometimes the trap is full, but more often than not, it will hold only 2-3 crabs.

The trapper removes the crabs from the trap, but has to do it very fast.  Compared to humans, the crabs reaction time is slow, but you can still get bitten.  The crabs are then placed in a wooden pen on the boat that holds them on wet burlap.  The trap is then secured, a new fish head is placed in the trap, and the trap is then tossed overboard with the 80-90' of lline attaching it to the buoy. The boat is moving all the time to the next trap so the trappers have to work extremely fast. 

A good crabber can pull a thousand traps a day by sundown, but the work is back-breaking.  If you see a crab puller on the dock at the end of a day, you're looking at one tired puppy!  There's no such thing as a lazy crabber.  Most of these guys burn out by their late 40's. 

Now the boat steams toward home, and all the men start shucking crabs.  They pull out a live crab and break off the claws, if legal size, and throw the live crab body overboard.  Back on shore, the claws are boiled in galvanized steel baskets.  An electric hoist lowers 500 pounds at a time into stainless steel tanks where pipes inject live steam to boil the water very rapidly....about 200 gallons of fresh ice water comes to a boil in 30 minutes.  The claws cook for 8 minutes and they are then removed from the water and immersed in a chilling tank filled with ice. 

The next morning the claws are packed in boxes, put on trucks, and shipped to Joe's in Miami Beach and hopefully some find their way to Captiva.. 

 

 

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reebop

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for the info. I will dress accordingly and switch from my daytime beer to a decent Pinot for the experience.

I'm pleased that along with the "business" that is conducted on this site, we are diversifiying into threads that are aimed at enhancing our vacations. There are many things to enjoy along the gulf that a lot of us aren't aware of. If you're down for a week or two it takes a couple of days to decompress. Then, at least I fall back on what I know and enjoy.

I appreciate the Snook tips and I will certainly make all attempts to discover the delights of stone crabs. When you boil it down, these are the things that make the Captiva and Sanibel experience - not mini-golf, kids club, cabanas etc.

I always complained about my kid's generation not being able to create their own fun. It had to be a video game, a program, etc. That's what the resort amenities can become for a lot of us - fun created for us by others, for a fee.

This is a good addition to this site.
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captiivated

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Reply with quote  #4 

For Joe's Stone Crab Claws mustard sauce recipe go to this site "They Call Me Mr. Snook" thread, page 6, item #14 by captivated.

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Susan

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Reply with quote  #5 

It is my understanding that's Joe's has their own boats.  And the reason their claws taste different when served in the restaurant (or now at Joe's Take-away next to the restaurant) is because of the expert way in which they crack the claws.  They claim there is a difference!  having been a resident of Miami for 36 years we wouldn't think of getting stome crabs anywhere but Joe's; but then again we are spoiled.

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captiivated

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Reply with quote  #6 
You're right, Joe's has it's own boats, Captain and crew.  They say they very carefully manage the catching, cooking, and delivery process.  I believe that is all accurate.

The guy I used at Jensen's is a one man team.  But he catches the crabs, collects the claws and steams the crabs immediately and then ices them all on board.  That process is probably just as good as Joe's fleet...maybe better because the claws are cooked and on ice before they even reach shore. 

I have not found cracking the claws a critical factor to taste but when buying them from the Jensen's guy you must crack your own claws and that is not easy...they are very hard.  Joe's uses a mallet, I use the butt end of a fillet knife.  This is why I recommend that the butcher at Bailey's do the cracking for you.

Susan, living in the area you probably know a lot about stone crab claws and Joe's. Give us your knowledge and insight.  This is the best food ever and we would welcome your thoughts and opinions. 

 

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reebop

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Reply with quote  #7 
Bring it on! let us in on the secrets! God, what I wouln't do at this very moment for some good crab, some warmth, some good drinks (well maybe I've had afew too many of those all ready), and some good island company. Fridays just around the corner!

The 2 weeks I live for!
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kenzie

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Reply with quote  #8 
Given the rather frightening possibility that Stone Crab Claws may not be available while you are on the island but you still feel the need for a special appetizer I offer the following fare:

Joe's Sauteed Shrimp in Garlic Sauce


Serves 2
     2 Tablespoons Garlic Butter (Recipe below)
     All purpose flour
     16-18 Medium large shrimp, peeled, but with tails left on and deveined
     Have lime or lemon wedge for garnish
Garlic Butter Recipe
      2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
      2 or 3 Garlic cloves, crushed with a knife blade and peeled, but
left whole. Heat the butter and garlic in the nonstick pan and cook stirring frequently on low-medium heat until the garlic is fragrant and beginning to brown lightly about 3-minutes should do it.  Remove the garlic cloves and you are ready to put the floured shrimp in the pan.   

     Put the butter in a large skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium heat.  Place the flour in a pie pan and toss the shrimp in the flour to coat lightly, shaking off excess flour.
      Place shrimp in the hot butter without crowding (work in batches if necessary). Saute, turning once or twice until the shrimp are just pink but not browned, 1-2 minutes total.
      Serve shrimp hot and garnish with lime or lemon wedge.     
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captiivated

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Reply with quote  #9 

reebop,  Glad you liked the stone crab claws.  Did Anne do the Joe's mustard sauce to go with it?

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Susan

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Posts: 98
Reply with quote  #10 
Sorry, I missed a lot on this thread because I got busy at work for a while  there....
If you are interestred in anything about stone crabs go to th source http://www.joesstonecrab.com and yu can even learn how to crack one properly! You can get all the recipes that Joes' is famous for and learn the history too.  Enjoy!
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kenzie

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Reply with quote  #11 

Thanks susan, great web site.  Joe's even ships stone crabs to California.  Nice to know for special occasions. 

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Susan

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Reply with quote  #12 

A word of warning.....if you are even thinking about New Year's Eve you need to do it well in advance.....they run out fast!  I've done it as a gift for my grown kids when they lived in NY, before they moved back to Miami, and I think I had to call like a month in advance. 

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captiivated

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Reply with quote  #13 

For what it's worth for all you stone crab wannaby's, Joe's ships stone crabs to the lower 48 (1-day) but, has also opened two new Joe's, one in Las Vegas and  I think the other in DC.  Get out the black tie!

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captiivated

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Reply with quote  #14 
From Malibu with love. 

At 3.00 PM yesterday my Stone Crab claws with mustard sauce were shipped from Joe's stone crab restaurant in Miami and arrived at my home in Malibu at 9:30 via FedEX the next AM.  We did 16 medium sized claws for about $120 including shipping.

Best lunch I ever had, crab claws and mustard sauce, perfect. I also melted the butter and provided my favorite Pinot Noir (Willakenzie Estate, Oregon) along with a fresh lemon from my lemon tree. Karol did pita chips and dip and spiced green olives.  Good food and great company.

Best yet, lunch used only half the claws (all the wine) so tonight, tonight, tonight another great meal more wine and who knows what else...life is good.

Thank you Susan for the idea to order from Joe's.

Happy New Year All!

 
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kenzie

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Posts: 774
Reply with quote  #15 
Joe's stone crabs are in season and because of the economy available at a discounted price. But remember, wear your tux and serve champagne. Just go for it!


http://www.joesstonecrab.com/yourdoor/help/helppage.html
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