Callinectes sapidus; Portunus pelagicus
Blue crab, hardshell crab, softshell crab; blue swimming crab
Meat of the blue crab has a rich, sweet, succulent and buttery flavor. The body meat is delicately flavored, while claw meat is nutty. Softshells offer a crunchy texture, since they are eaten shell and all. Cooked shells of blue crabs turn orange-red. Body meat is white, tender and flaky. Claw meat has a brownish tint, which is natural. Pasteurized meat is firmer and darker than fresh crab meat. Fresh blue-crab meat should have a mild aroma; pasteurized should have a slight, “heated” aroma.
Live: Hardshells, Softshells Fresh: Whole (dressed hardshells), Whole (dressed softshells), Picked meat Frozen: Whole (dressed softshells), Cooked meat, Blocks, Claws, Cocktail claws Value-added: Cakes, Stuffed, Pasteurized meat
Other crab species, Lobster meat
Live crabs can be steamed or boiled and eaten straightaway or used in sauces or salads. Fried crab cakes, made with picked meat, bread crumbs, butter and seasoning, are a traditional favorite. Softshells are best sautéed, broiled or grilled at high heat, so shells become crisp. They’re often fried and served in sandwiches.
China, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam