Blue Crabs, and a Full Moon

André Baranowski

Blue crabs are a lazy fisherman's delight. If you find the right spot, you can drop a crab trap with a couple of chicken bones in the morning and haul in at least a dozen live ones that afternoon. In fact, the most challenging thing about catching and consuming blue crabs is finding the meat. But don't let that stop you; just follow SAVEUR's guide.

The blue crab is the official crustacean of Maryland, and most locals like to steam their catch in Old Bay and beer. For something different, the Baltimore Sun has assembled this collection of great crab recipes by their readers. As an experiment, I recently steamed just-caught crabs in water (and blogged about it), and was impressed by the naturally sweet flavor of crab meat when it wasn't hidden by a spice blend.

When I caught my crabs, I also found a soft shell in the trap (soft shells are blue crabs that have molted). As I held my defenseless little she-crab, I wondered about something I'd heard, that blue crabs are more likely to molt with the full moon. Although crab expert and aficionado Steven C. Zinski scientifically disagrees, I choose to believe. The notion that blue crabs are so inspired by the full moon that they burst through their stiff corsets and retreat to the grasses all naked and vulnerable is so wonderfully romantic, I'm not ready to give it up.

After all, it's a fisherman's tale. It doesn't have to be true.