Blue crabs are a delicious delicacy found all around the world. They are commonly caught and frozen for later use, making them accessible year-round. Cooking frozen blue crab might seem like an intimidating task, but with proper preparation and cooking methods, you can enjoy a delicious meal any time.
The importance of Cooking Properly
Properly cooking your frozen blue crab is essential to avoid foodborne illness. Blue crabs carry bacteria that could lead to poisoning if not cooked or stored correctly, so taking the right steps when preparing and cooking is vital.
Preparing for Cooking
Choosing the Right Type of Crab
Not all blue crabs are created equal; there are different types available on the market. Choosing a mature male crab is best since they tend to have more meat than other types.
Purchasing Frozen Blue Crab
When purchasing frozen blue crab, make sure to check the packaging carefully. Look for information about where it was caught or packaged and ensure that it has been frozen at -18°C (0°F). Always purchase from a reputable store or seafood supplier.
Thawing Your Blue Crab
Thawing your blue crab should be done slowly using either refrigerator thawing or cold running water thawing methods.
The Refrigerator Method
The refrigerator method involves putting the frozen blue crab in a container and placing it in the refrigerator overnight until completely thawed. The following steps should be followed:
1) Remove the outer packaging of the frozen blue crab 2) Place it in an appropriate container. 3) Place the container in your fridge 4) Allow it to defrost overnight.
Cold Running Water Method
The cold running water method is faster than using a refrigerator but requires continuous attention throughout. The following steps should be followed:
1) Remove outer packaging of your frozen blue crab 2) Place them in sealable bags 3) Fill with clean cool water 4) Seal the bags 5) Submerge the bag in a large mixing bowl filled with cold water. 6) Change the cold water every 30 minutes until it is thawed.
When using either thawing method, make sure to handle frozen blue crab as little as possible to avoid re-freezing and preventing any bacteria from forming.
Cleaning and Preparing Frozen Blue Crab
After thawing your frozen blue crabs, they will need to be cleaned before cooking.
To remove shells from your blue crab, use kitchen scissors and cut along the sides of its underside. Once this is complete, gradually peel away the shell layer by layer, removing any remaining cartilage that may stick to the body.
Cleaning Blue Crabs
Cleaning blue crabs might take some time but is vital for ensuring an enjoyable meal. The following steps should be followed:
1) Rinse the crabs off under cold running water 2) Remove claws from each crab 3) Turn each crab over and remove gills (colloquially known as “dead man’s fingers”) using your fingers or tongs. 4) Clean out its digestive tract located beneath the carapace. 5) Rinse once more before cooking until there is no visible debris left on both sides.
Cooking Frozen Blue Crab Boilers
There are several cooking methods to choose when preparing frozen blue crabs. Boiling them or steaming are two excellent options that deliver strong flavors.
Steamed Blue Crab Boilers
Steaming frozen blue crab boilers allows for fast cooking while infusing a magnificent aroma into every bite. The following equipment will be necessary:
- A large pot with a tight-fitting lid
- Steam basket
The ingredients list includes:
- Salted boiling water
- White distilled vinegar
- Beer or white wine
To ensure optimal results follow these steps: 1) Put salted water and white distilled vinegar in the bottom of your pot and bring to a boil. 2) Add a layer of crabs to the steaming basket. 3) Place the steaming basket with legs into the pot over against the wall, if possible. 4) Cover the pot tightly with a lid 5) Steam for 20-30 minutes until fully cooked.
Baking Methods for Frozen Blue Crab
Baking is an excellent method for blue crab as it locks in all natural flavors. Two techniques are used when baking frozen blue crab – oven baked and foil packed baked.
Oven Baked Blue Crab
The ingredient list includes:
- Garlic butter
- Lemon slices
To achieve perfect results, follow these steps: 1) Make garlic butter seasoning accordingly 2) Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) 3) Place well-seasoned blue crabs on a baking sheet with sufficient space between them 4) Bake for 15–20 minutes or until done.
The Boiling Method
Boiling frozen blue crab is a quick and straightforward way to cook it. One disadvantage will be that, like all boiling methods, many nutrients will be lost. You can either use traditional or Cajun boiling methods.
Traditional Boiling Method
The following ingredients list will contain:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Bay leaves
- Old bay seasoning (optional)
Follow these boiling steps: 1) Mix ingredients in a huge stockpot 2) Bring water to boil by adding ingredients 3) Place thawed, cleaned, prepared crabs into preheated pot 4) Cover tightly and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes 5). Drain & serve immediately
Cajun Boiling Method
- Beer or white wine
- Bay leaves
- Cajun seasoning
Boiling Steps: 1) Pour seasoning into a huge stockpot 2) Boil water; while stirring in beer or wine 3) Add thawed, cleaned, and prepared crabs to pot 4) Cover and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes 5). Drain liquid
Cooking your frozen blue crab does not have to be difficult. With proper preparation and using simple cooking methods such as Boiling, Steaming, or Baking, you can enjoy a sumptuous meal any time of the year. Always make sure that you thaw your frozen blue crab properly before cleaning and preparing it for cooking. Safety is paramount to maintaining good health; avoid leaving cooked food out at room temperature for too long. Enjoy every bite with caution!
- Can you cook frozen blue crab without thawing it first? Yes, you can! In fact, cooking the crab while it’s still frozen can help lock in the flavors and prevent it from becoming overcooked and tough.
- What’s the best way to season frozen blue crab before cooking? A simple seasoning of salt, black pepper, and a pinch of Old Bay or Cajun seasoning is all you need to enhance the natural sweetness and delicate flavor of the crab.
- How long should you steam or boil frozen blue crab? The cooking time will depend on the size of your crab, but a good rule of thumb is to steam or boil small crabs (about 4 inches) for 10-12 minutes, medium crabs (5-6 inches) for 15-20 minutes, and large crabs (7-8 inches) for 25-30 minutes.
- Can you use leftover cooked frozen blue crab in other dishes? Absolutely! The meat from leftover cooked crab can be used in salads, dips, sandwiches, soups, stews, and even pasta dishes. Just be sure to remove any shell fragments before using it.