Updated: May 25
Cooked by Joanna P
Written by Saki A
2 clusters of crab legs
1/2 cup melted butter
1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
2. Season the water with 1 table spoon of salt, if desired.
3. Submerge crab legs in water and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Remove from water and serve with melted butter and lemon wedges for squeezing over meat.
Turning invasive crabs to delicacies
Crabs are delicious. Although in their hard-shell form, it can be a struggle to tug and pick the meat. In their soft-shell form, there's less work and you can eat them whole! But why are there two forms: soft and hard?
When crabs outgrow their outer shell, they shed their exoskeleton and expose their tender bodies. Crabs in this particular growth state are known as "soft-shell" crabs. These crabs will begin to harden again within 24 hours -- and they are then called "hard-shell" crabs. Because there's only a brief window for the fishers to catch soft-shell crabs, field surveys and laboratory studies are underway to better understand when the crabs are about to shed. For example, Atlantic blue crabs are now known to develop a distinctive, bright red rim around their legs before they shed.
Interestingly, in efforts to combat an aggressively invasive crab population in warming waters, New England scientists have been working to develop commercial fisheries. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone -- understanding the growth cycle of crabs and accurately predicting the soft-shell phase will 1) aid with the success of fishing industries 2) help reduce the crab population.
Recipe adapted from https://thestayathomechef.com/how-to-cook-crab-legs/
Harm to Table: Turning an Invasive Crab into a Delicacy (Poppick L, 2019). Scientific American. Retrieved on 04/30/2020 from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/harm-to-table-turning-an-invasive-crab-into-a-delicacy/