How to Cook Blue Crab
Seafood lovers know what a great coastal food blue crabs make. These brightly hued crabs taste best when cooked fresh whether they have been steamed, boiled or baked. Of course, there are crabs available in the market that are already cut, cleaned and cooked. But nothing beats a home-cooked meal because not only is it healthy but it also provides a chance for home cooks to increase their culinary skills.
So, if you are interested to learn how to cook blue crabs, stick around because we have some of the best blue crab recipes waiting just for you!
Steamed Blue Crabs
One unique way of cooking blue crab is to steam them. The ingredients you will need if you plan to steam blue crabs are:
- Blue crabs (live or frozen) 12
- Water 4 cups
- Seafood seasoning ½ cup
- Salt 1 tbsp.
- Filling the steamer pot with water
Grab a steamer pot of suitable size (for 12 crabs) and pour in the 4 cups of water into it. The water should reach a level just under rack’s spot in the pot. To the water, add the seafood seasoning, the salt and any other condiments or spices you would like to add to flavor your blue crabs with. Use a spoon to mix all the ingredients into the water.
If you want to liven the dish up a bit more, an excellent choice would be to add a bit of lemon juice, vinegar or light beer to the water. They will bring out great flavors and add some freshness to the dish.
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- Boiling the seasoned water
Place the rack inside the steamer pot and put the pot on top of a stove with the heat set on high. Wait until the water begins to boil and when it does, bring the heat down to medium.
Before you start to boil the water, keep an eye out for the water level in the steamer pot. It might happen that you may have added more than the bottom of the pot can hold. In that case, the water will rise above the rack. If this occurs, immediately get rid of the excess liquid and then start boiling the water.
Many steamer pots have a basket instead of a rack. However, this does not change anything – the water needs to stay beneath the basket’s bottom.
- Preparing the crabs for steaming
Before you start, you should choose what type of crab you will be using. Any kind works – fresh or frozen blue crab. Leave the fresh ones as they are but the frozen ones will need to be defrosted before they can be steamed. Also, there is no need to spend time killing or cleaning the crabs – they will work just fine as they are.
The preparation of the blue crabs is nothing fancy. All you have to do is pick them up with a pair of tongs and place them inside the steamer pot. When you have formed a single layer of crabs, dust 1 tbsp. of seasoning on top of each to add more flavor.
Do the same for any remaining crabs, creating single layers on top of the first and seasoning the crabs as you go. As soon as all the crabs are accommodated inside the steamer pot, seal it with the lid.
- Cooking the blue crabs
Ideally, blue crabs should be cooked for almost 20 minutes. Check the pot every once in a while for color changes. This is because a color change from blue to bright orange is an indicator that they are done being steamed. The heat should remain the same – medium – throughout the whole cooking period.
Though the color change should be enough to know, for your convenience, you may use another technique. This method involves looking at the lower part of the crab’s stomach which, if it is done, should “pop out” of the blue crab’s body.
Another note to keep in mind – the cooking time will vary depending on the number of crabs inside the pot. The more the crabs, the longer it should take. When you cross the 20-minute threshold, do not forget to inspect them while they cook, maintaining a 5-minute interval. Wait until all of them have changed colors.
- Serving the crabs
When all of the crabs are bright orange, remove them from the steamer pot and transfer them to a baking sheet with the help of a pair of tongs. Allow the crabs to cool for at least 5 minutes as they will be very hot. When the heat recedes, they can be served on plates, ready to be broken into for their tender meat.
If you have any leftovers, refrigerate those and they will stay fresh for a maximum of 3 to 5 days. Frozen ones will stay fresh for longer with a life span of 3 months.
Boiled Blue Crab
Another method of cooking blue crab is boiling them. The ingredients needed for this method are:
- Blue crabs (live or frozen) 12
- Salt 1 tbsp.
- Boiling the water
Instead of a steamer, now you will need a regular boiling pot, large enough to hold quite a few crabs. Pour water into the pot until two-thirds of it is filled with the liquid. Sprinkle the salt into the water-filled pot and turn up the heat to high. Once you have brought it to a boil, bring down the heat to medium.
For additional flavor, you may add other things like fresh lemon juice, vinegar, etc.
- Adding the crabs to the pot
With the help of your kitchen tongs, grab the blue crabs and place them all into the heated water. Just like before, the pot has to be sealed with its lid so the crabs can boil properly. If you are wondering how long to boil blue crabs, just look for the color change from blue to bright orange. This should take about 10 minutes in the case of boiling crabs.
This time too, you should use crabs that have not been cleaned earlier. If the number of crabs you are cooking is huge, it will be better to do the boiling in separate groups instead of shoving all of them in one single pot.
- Stopping the cooking process with ice water
Just before the crabs are done, prepare a large bowl filled with ice water. Dump the boiled crabs into the icy water using the tongs when ten minutes are over. After the transfer, keep stirring them around the water for about 30 seconds to prevent further cooking. Avoid exceeding the given time period as they crabs may cool a bit too much than is necessary.
- Serving the crabs
After the 30 second bath, the crabs have to be placed on paper towels and dried by dabbing with more of the towels. When dry, they can be served on plates. We recommend serving as soon as possible so that they remain warm and soft for eating. The shell will need to be cracked which should be easy to do as it too has been boiled. With that, the crab meat can be enjoyed without further ado.
Boiled crabs can also be refrigerated or frozen and they would stay intact for 5 days and 3 months respectively. The trick to keep the food fresh is to keep it covered and make use of airtight containers.
Related Post: Food Storage Containers
That brings us to the end of our cooking expedition for the day. Who knew cooking crabs can be as simple as that? You may even add special touches to the dish yourself to adjust it to your needs. Now you should be able to stir these dishes up almost anytime you have blue crabs at hand and show-off your prowess as a seafood cook!