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.
Shareholders with Core Sound Seafood love some North Carolina shrimp! Shares tomorrow will include a pound of local shrimp. We are excited for the fall shrimp season because the spring season wasn’t so great. Why? Cold winters lead to smaller shrimp population in the spring. So if this winter is as long and tough as the last you can’t count on plentiful shrimp next spring. So eat up this great fall shrimp.
Types of Shrimp
Not all shrimp are the same. Here in North Carolina we see three types of shrimp: Brown, White (Green Tails), and Pink (Spotted).
According to the NC Division of Marine Fisheries, Brown shrimp can account for almost 70% of the shrimp caught in our waters. Brown shrimp, however, are a summer shrimp. Brown shrimp are active in open waters at night. They can reach a length of 9 inches. Brown shrimp have strong flavor which lends well to stuffing, baking, and stews. Gumbo or Jambalaya anyone?
White Shrimp (Green Tails)
This is the shrimp in season now. Round here we call white shrimp Green Tails. “Tails” are a little smaller than brown shrimp, maxing out at 8 inches. About 28% of the NC shrimp harvest is from white shrimp. White shrimp prefer muddy brackish waters that give them a dose of good marshy flavor. They are known for their texture. They stand up to strong spice, soaking in the taste of what goes with it. Think boils and bbq.
Pink shrimp only account for at most 5% of our shrimp in North Carolina. Also called “spotted shrimp” they can get as big as 11 inches. They are active at night and hang out in the mud during the day. These are great for shrimp salads and shrimp cocktail.
Interested in learning more about the types of shrimp? Click on each of the shrimp names above for facts from the NOAA.
Looking for shrimp recipes? Check out our Pinterest Page: Shrimp Recipes.
Note: This post first ran in Spring 2014. Scroll down for flounder recipes.
Tomorrow, we kick off the 2014 Spring Season with Flounder.
As we all know, it has been a long and cold winter. Warm water is necessary for good fishing conditions. This week has been the first period of spring weather, the inland waters have just started the warming process but it is still cool. We need the weather to spike to get the fish from the ocean into the sound and the boats out more frequently.
Shares this week will be filled with Flounder. The Flounder is ocean caught with a stern rig. Moving forward, our goal is to provide two species of fish with each share and we are disappointed that Mother Nature couldn’t cooperate. For next week, everything is looking up! The boats are out today and barring another Polar Vortex we will be back to offering the diversity of seafood in your next share. This is also a time we are thankful for you, our shareholders, and your participation in the CSF model that builds a strong relationship with our fishing families on the coast.
Tips on How to Cook Fresh Fish
Flounder provides a great opportunity to focus on how to cook fresh fish. While a recipe can accentuate the meal, properly cooked fresh fish is the star. This week we invite you to try cooking your Flounder in more than one way and see how different cooking methods flavor the fish.
Go to our page on cooking fish right every time that gives you a fool-proof “10-Minute Rule” for all common cooking methods. Flounder is also a great way to try baking in parchment paper. Creating parchment packets with any mix of flavors is one of the most simple and risk free ways to prepare fish. Here is a basic recipe and technique with a video to guide you through the process: flounder baked in parchment paper.
Flounder is the perfect fish to poach on the stove top in white wine, steam with vegetables, or bake with Parmesan. This season we are starting to use Pinterest for sharing recipes. Here we will pin favorite recipes from other sites on the web.
Visit our Pinterest site for even more recipes. And if you can, please join and pin new recipes that you think others might like!