I was just learning about how European green crabs area posing problems with our local fishing industry (eating all or clams!) and how there is a push to eat them to combat the issue.
Lo and behold a local seafood vendor, who delivers online orders, offers green crabs as a limited item, and since I love crab, I buy a few packs. Little did I know that when they described them as “smaller than blue crabs”, they really meant the crabs area like 1/3 to 1/4 of the size.
I’ve never worked with crabs this small, so my regular methods of preparing crab may not work. Looking for anyone who has ever cooked these to offer or suggest any favorite preparations and recipes. Any suggestions?
@Sgee - from what I can see in the bags they do have a darker green body, but because they are frozen, I can’t be sure of the details until they are thawed. This is a picture from NOAA, is this helps, but it doesn’t give you a sense of size.
@Saregama - I would estimate that the size of the ones I have are roughly 2.5 to 3 inches across, and the claws are only maybe 1.5 to 2 inches. I haven’t inspected these packs closely, so if they’re are bigger ones mixed in, ai haven’t noticed them yet.
If the body is 2.5 to 3” across (not the whole crab), these are used regularly in India (and Asia generally, I’d guess) for everyday crab curry (medium and big crabs are much more expensive, reserved for special occasions or bought up by seafood restaurants). For eg the frozen crabs at H-mart are this size.
The “stomach” can have a good amount of meat (lump), as do the larger claws.
The little skinny claws can be ground up into the curry to thicken it, or be used for stock like the other link posted).
Quick update on how pack #1 went - I ended up making a version of the Korean crab stew. The stew itself was very tasty and with a good kick (I didn’t exactly put a lot of effort in measuring the gochujang precisely). I had to double the recipe considering how many little crabs I had.
In terms of the crabs themselves, most of them were quite small. I only had about 3-4 that I would say were the 2-3 inches. Most of the crabs were about 1-1.5 inches across - itty bitty little crabs. This of course made cleaning a lot of fun . Didn’t get a lot of roe or mustard in these, but the process itself is much like cleaning any other hard shell crab. Making sure to clean out the gills on the bitty ones was challenging and I have small hands! I can’t imagine an adult with normal sized hands doing this without a tool.
With them being this small, the eating part of the crab was very little meat, or not worth picking out the meat. It was often a munch on a halved crab and you get a taste but nice crab flavor, and the flavor was good. It really punched the stew up with a nice crabby flavor so that was a big win. These would be nice if you can buy them in the bigger sizes and have a proper preparation.
I have a few more bags in the freezer, and I’ll pick out the larger pieces for a dish, and the smaller ones use them for the crab stock recipe. My interest is piqued though - if they can be reliably sourced for bigger crabs, I would definitely try these again. I’m also curious about the soft shell variety referenced on a few sites; those sound like they have a lot of culinary promise regardless of size.