This week our Community Supported Fishery shares will include a pound of claw crab meat. This is the meat from the claw, that is red in color and in some circles considered a lower grade of crab meat. But…not all crab meat is created equal. Most people love jumbo lump and the bigger the lumps the better! Not so fast. Big isn’t necessarily better. There was a time when backfin and claw meat were preferred at the picnic table. Let’s take a look at types of crab meat.
For a while now, some large lump crab meat you find in restaurants and on the shelf is not local. It comes from Venezuela and Indonesia. Larger crab and seafood companies have grown their business by locating an entirely different species of crab in Asian waters, the Blue Swimming Crab, that gives a large clean lump but lacks the flavor of local coastal crab. Read labels carefully. What might be named “Maryland” or “Chesapeake” crab in name will say from SE Asia or South America in the fine print.
Local Crab Meat
We are proud to feature local crab meat from Mattamuskeet Crab Company in Swan Quarter, NC. A goal of our CSF is to provide a range of flavors from the coast. We look forward to hearing your experiences with claw meat that is most definitely the real deal.
What makes North Carolina and Chesapeake blue crab different? It must survive the winter. This requires the crabs to store fat deposits that flavor the meat. The crab is marbled with this yellow fat giving the distinct flavor of brackish water. In blind taste tests about 50% of people choose the local crab even though it is not “jumbo lump”.
Now, when we get to local crabs lump crab meat is still the highest grade. You will pay the most for it and be able to use it in a range of dishes, primarily crab cakes. With that said, lump meat can be upwards of $30 a pound. Claw crab meat gives good crab flavor but it doesn’t hold up as well and can be grainy. Claw meat is great in dips, omelettes, and soups…anywhere the crab is mixed in. All that aside, if you are dying for a crab cake you can still use claw meat to put a smile on your face.
Check out our Pinterest site: Crab Recipes. In particular, there is a recipe for crab pancakes with a Hoisin sauce that can be a great way to prepare claw crab meat.