That's right, from mid-October through mid-May, these deliciously delightful crustaceans can be found in restaurants and seafood markets throughout the state of Florida. Although stone crabs can be found in places as far away as North Carolina and Texas, they are primarily harvested from the waters of our very own Sunshine State. And the best part is, stone crabs are rated Green (Best Choice) by the Seafood Watch, meaning that the stone crab's population is strong and well-managed... so go ahead and crack another claw!
If you've never had the opportunity to taste a stone crab, I'll do my best to explain what you are missing! The stone crab's meat is sweet, firm, and delicious; very similar in texture and taste to lobster. You only eat the claws of stone crabs, which are great served either warm or cold, and pair wonderfully with a mustard sauce or melted butter. Stone crabs are cooked right after they are caught, so whether in a restaurant or from a seafood market, they come to your plate ready to eat.
Now, more on the sustainability of stone crabs. In a world where overfishing has become a major problem, stone crabs can be considered a poster child for sustainable fishing, because the crab is not killed during harvest. When a stone crab is caught, only one claw is removed, so the crab is still able to defend itself while a new claw is regenerated. Crabs are harvested using traps, and they must meet certain size requirements for their claw to be removed. Once stone crabs are returned to the ocean, they start to generate a new claw, which they can do 3 to 4 times, as long as they are properly handled.
I am sure you are asking, "Okay, so where can I go to taste some stone crabs?"... I have some answers for you! As far as restaurants, you could try either River Rocks Restaurant in Viera, or Chart House in Melbourne. Or, if you would like to enjoy your stone crabs at home, you can pick some up at Indialantic Seafood Company or Green Turtle Market (remember to grab some mustard sauce too!). Be sure to call all of these places before you go, stone crabs sell out quickly!
If you know of anywhere else in our area that serves stone crabs, please let me know! Also, if you get the chance to sample some stone crab, I expect a full report...let me know what you think about this uniquely fabulous Florida fare :-)
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