Island stuffed crabs

By Raquel Fox
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My grandmother originated from the Island of Andros (land of the crabs). She was very skillful at catching live crabs and cleaning out their guts before cooking them for her family. She fed the crabs a diet of coconut for several weeks, so their meat would take on the subtle sweet and nutty flavor. You may substitute with Dungeness Crabs.

SERVES
4

Ingredients

  • 4 medium hard-shell crabs or 2 Dungeness Crabs
  • 2 cups (500 mL) crab meat, picked (or lump crab meat)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) ghee or butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced garlic
  • 1/2 piece green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 piece red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) reserved crab mustard (optional)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, picked
  • 1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper, diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) diced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) golden raisins
  • 1 cup (250 mL) plain bread crumbs
  • 1 cup (250 mL) panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fish or seafood stock
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Fill a six litre pot with water halfway over medium-high heat.
  2. Add hard-shell crabs and cook for 15 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Separate the crabs back from the body by pulling apart at the center. Remove the yellowish fat from the crabs back (and reserve), being careful not to break the bitter gall bladder bag (a small sack usually hidden under the fat that stores bile). Discard the gall bag. Set aside the crab’s back for the stuffing.
  4. Pick the meat from the body and claws of the crab and set aside (use lump crab meat as an additional filler) in a medium bowl.
  5. In a large skillet, add ghee or melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, green and red bell peppers and cook for three minutes.
  6. Add crab fat (the mustard), and meat, thyme, Scotch bonnet pepper, lemon juice and seafood seasoning.  Add parsley and continue cooking for five minutes. Add raisins, bread crumbs, stock and black pepper to taste if using. Remove from heat and stuff crab mixture into the crab’s backs, garnish with parsley, lemon slices and serve at once.

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