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Crab Stock or Not?

Okay - tonight enjoyed a fabulous Steamed Maryland Chesapeake Blue Claw Crab feast. All females, all full & luscious. They arrived already steamed, but with a packet of "extra spicy" steaming spices to use when we resteamed them to heat them through.

Crabs were fabulous (& came with 6 super-jumbo shrimp as well), so we had the shrimp & a few crabs each (they were extra-large 7-inchers), & I picked out the rest & froze the meat for another use. I also saved all the shells & flotsam-jetsam (they were all females, so lots of roe). Am thinking of tossing them all into a pot with water to cover & see what happens, but am thinking that all that extra-spicy Old Bay-type seasoning will crowd everything else out?

Comments? Ideas?

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  1. i'd give them a good scrub & rinse to remove as much of the seasoning as you can from the shells...then use them to make stock. at the very least you can use it as the base for a Maryland crab soup, which usually calls for Old Bay anyway.

      1. Okay - after doing some research, & figuring that all I really have to lose is a little time, this is what I decided to do.

        Have all the leftover crab shells, legs, & a few cracked but uneaten claws in a pot with just enough water to cover, & will simmer for around 30 minutes or so. No aromatics or anything. Will then taste. If not too overpowering with crab spice, will then strain, return liquid to pot, add some aromatics, & simmer a bit more.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bacardi1

          How lucky you are to have crabs 'arrive' already steamed at your home. I'm jealous, jealous, jealous... And how can you leave an uneaten claw? :-)

          1. re: thymetobake

            I know, I know. Somehow a few claws escaped the cute little wooden mallets that came with our order. But they ended up giving their all to the wonderful stock that's now simmering on my stove.

          2. re: Bacardi1

            If it's a little spicey tasting, make a Portugese Fisherman's Stew.

          3. I wouldn't bother. The spices are all you'll taste. Crab shells give up almost zero flavor b/c they're so thick. Shrimp shells are different. I use a squeeze of anchovy paste and/or a few drops of bottled clam juice in pretty much every savory dish I make including dishes like beef stews/chilies etc.

            1. For all you naysayers - with all due respect, thank God I didn't listen to you - lol!!

              The stock tastes FABULOUS. On the spicy side, but not overpowering or overly salty AT ALL. And so very rich with crabby flavor. I'm SO pumped, & am already envisioning some terrific soup(s) in my future. Just now strained out all the crabby solids & returned the liquids to the pot along with some celery, carrot, sweet onion, & half a head of garlic sliced in half lengthwise. Will simmer that concoction & strain again in 30 minutes. Can't wait!!

              6 Replies
              1. re: Bacardi1

                Good for you. What type of soup are you thinking?

                1. re: tcamp

                  Nothing at the moment. Will freeze this baby & do something with it at a later date. Maybe a Maryland "She-Crab" soup, since this was an all-female crab-fest & the girls were full of roe; or a mixed seafood chowder; or part of a seafood stew. From what I just tasted, the sky is the limit!! :)

                  1. re: Bacardi1

                    I always do this with my crab shells, and make Maryland crab soup with it. I'm kind of sad you only ate females, though. Female blue crabs are nearing unsustainability.

                    1. re: sweetpotater

                      East coast crabs have thinner shells than West coast crabs.

                      1. re: sweetpotater

                        No choice was given. All females was the offer.

                  2. re: Bacardi1

                    Strained out the aromatics & now have 2 quarts of lovely spicy tasty crab stock in the freezer. Another testament to "waste not, want not". :)