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Sep 15, 2006 06:45 PM

Markets on Spadina

I work on spadina just south of all the markets, I noticed today while out at lunch that all of the stores have big bins of small blueish crabs on offer, and one store was just receiving a shipment of 3 or 4 skids.

Are these blue crabs? Which I think are soft shell crabs, with their hard shell? Are they in season right now hence the number, excitment of other shoppers and inexpensive price?

Does anyone know what I could do with them or how to prepare them?

As they just arrived and looked really fresh and lively and were really inexpensive I wanted to try them. I love crab (snow crab and king crab) but am afraid to impluse buy and then not know what to do with them or how to store them once I get home. Plus it's a bit daunting to bring home a live dinner.

I know this is more for the homecooking thread but as it's pretty Spadina/Toronto centric I wanted to post it here for my TO hounds.

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  1. I just asked my mom (resident chef at my house, haha) and she said that yes, they should be blue crabs (we're assuming youre talking about the Chinatown markets) and that they're not quite in season yet. They would be in season when it comes near the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is in about a month (close to our Thanksgiving).

    Ways of cooking it would be stir frying them with ginger and green onion, or steaming them whole (and then afterwards taking out the gills and stuff) to dip in Chinese black vinegar. At least thats how we eat our blue crabs.. Asian-style. These are much smaller crabs, so its harder to take the meat out (unlike the king and snow crabs).

    1. I agree with jennjen18. These are indeed the same crabs as the soft shell variety. The shells have just gotten hard now. The only way I have ever cooked them is to steam to eat with black vinegar. I take the gills off before steaming though. In Maine and other destinations east, the crabs are sometimes boiled with Old Bay seasoning, or boiled and you pick the meat out for crab cakes (too much work).

      1. This is a late reply, but blue crabs are native to Louisiana and we cook them by boiling them in cajun spices, much like you would boil shrimp. If you need some spices, normally Zatarrains Crab Boil, there's a shop on Queen Street in Toronto called Cajun Corner. You can look up their website. We also throw in potatoes, corn and whatever and make it a big ole family meal.

        I got some my first year here (2 years ago) from the Chinese market in Mississauga. I haven't been able to catch them again. If anyone knows the spring season here, please let me know. We used to go catch our own back home!

        Bon appetit!