Steaming is a great cooking method for Maryland blue crab. Not only does it result in tender, succulent flesh, but it also means you can flavor the steaming liquid and this flavor will soak into the crab, giving it a subtle yet very nice taste. The following recipe calls for beer, vinegar, salt and seafood seasoning to act as the steaming liquid, and these flavors are fantastic with the crab.
You can use a different kind of crab if Maryland blue crab is unavailable, but you might need to omit the salt if you are using something from the salty Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf instead of the Chesapeake Bay, because the cooked crab will end up being too salty. Another idea is to steam fish such as cod or tilapia. You will get the same flavor. Use 1/3 of the ingredients per ½ pound of fish. This is nice to use for delicate filets which would disintegrate on the grill.
This recipe is the best way to prepare Maryland blue crab if juicy, moist crabmeat is important to you. The flavors work incredibly well together and this makes a fantastic meal for any season or occasion.
- 36 live Maryland blue crabs
- ½ cup salt
- 3 cups beer
- 3 cups distilled white vinegar
- ¾ cup Old Bay or similar seafood seasoning
- 1 cup melted butter, to serve
- Just before cooking them turn each crab upside down and stick a knife through the shell behind the mouth.
- This will kill them quickly and painlessly.
- Mix ½ cup of the seafood seasoning with the vinegar, beer, and salt in a pot over a high heat.
- Bring to a rapid simmer.
- Add a screen or rack over this mixture and lay the crabs on it.
- They must not be touching the liquid.
- Cover the pot and steam the crabs until they are orange instead of blue.
- This will take about 25 minutes.
- Sprinkle the rest of the seafood seasoning over them and serve with melted butter for dipping.
Maryland blue crab is a delicacy and although there are various ways to cook it, many chefs and home cooks regard steaming as the best way. This type of shellfish is easily recognizable by its blue color which you can clearly see in this picture. The blue color is because of several pigments found in the shell, including alpha-crustacyanin which interacts with astaxanthin, a reddish orange pigment, to give a greenish blue color. When you cook the crab, the alpha-crustacyanin breaks down leaving only the astaxanthin which is orange. This is a handy indicator of when your crab is cooked.
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