This is probably debatable, but crabmeat is considered the Cadillac of the Gulf’s crustaceans, when you take into account price and taste. Face it, unless you’re allergic, it’s hard to beat crabmeat au gratin, lump crabmeat with butter and crab cakes!
How lucky are Louisianians that the state supports the largest crab production of hard blue crabs in the nation and is the number one supplier of live No. 1 male crabs in the southern states. With a scientific name that translates to “beautiful savory swimmer,” the blue crab is a mainstay of the Gulf.
Because it is pricier, you’d be well served to know the four types of meat that come from different areas of the blue crab.
Jumbo Lump– This is the hunk of meat – the trophy – that comes from carefully twisting off the two large muscles connected to the swimming legs. The most prized and expensive crabmeat you can purchase, it’s usually preferred on top of salads, in crabmeat imperial with butter and a little Panko crumb, and is widely used for making crab cakes as well.
Backfin Crab Meat- Generally a mix of jumbo lump and some loose separated strands of crab meat from the body of the crab, you will also find it sometimes labeled as “lump” – but it’s not. Because of the appearance and separation, it’s perfect for soups, dips, and the making of less expensive crab cakes.
Crab Fingers- Picked from the ends of the blue crab’s claws, the meat is left attached to the “feather” of the finger. Primarily used as an appetizer, the fingers (or claws) are great marinated or fried and with remoulade sauce or in a salad, alongside a soup or in a bowl of gumbo. NEVER order just one dozen; they’re just too easy and addictive to eat. As an appetizer, figure on five per person- easily.
Claw Meat– This darker meat comes from the claws and swimming fins of the crab. It is the most inexpensive crab meat you can purchase and many contend the tastiest, often used in dips, soups and gumbos – and, again, crab cakes. In a soup or gumbo, put the meat in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking and very carefully fold it in as to not break it up to the point of making it stringy.
The crabmeat sold by Louisiana Direct Seafood comes from crabs harvested in the marshes and deltas by Louisiana Blue Crab, owned by Sheb Callahan, who has been crabbing since he was 14. The crabs are steamed using a specialized steam retort, then are meticulously picked for shells and scanned with a black light to doublecheck for any that may be remaining. Louisiana Blue Crab is one of Louisiana’s largest crab wholesalers serving not only Louisiana, but a growing market in Maryland and Virginia.
Crabmeat is rich in protein, essential amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. A 3-oz. serving of crabmeat has only 71 calories, is extremely high in Vitamin B12, and packed full of selenium and has 15G of protein.
Louisiana Crab Basket
1 lb. Louisiana jumbo lump crabmeat
5 eggs, 1 beaten
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. hot sauce
1 cup bread crumbs
Lemon wedges and parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix jumbo lump crabmeat, beaten egg, and remaining ingredients. Using 4” and 2.25” circular (or cookie) molds, spoon in crab mixture between molds forming a ring or “basket.” Bake for 15 minutes. Add 1 whole egg to the center of each crab “basket” and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the egg white is set and egg yolk is desired consistency. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley, and serve.