'Florida Stone Crab Claws' by Chef Kyleigh Beach


Traveling for work can be a lot of fun – meeting new people, exploring new cities, and sampling local cuisine.  Traveling for work can also be an energy-draining pain – airport delays, heavy suitcases full of cooking equipment, and stubbornly puffy hotel pillows that wrench your neck.  My most recent work trip was of the fun variety.  Not only was I working with the wonderful people of Pioneer promoting their fantastic new high-oleic soy oil Plenish, but I was in sunny, warm Florida in March.  I made it a personal mission to consume as much seafood as possible during the four day trip. 
My colleague, Bea, and I ate a lot of good (and some disappointingly prepared) grouper served with mediocre side dishes.  I forced Bea to try raw oysters and she liked them!  But neither of us was as happy with any of our food as we were with these little beauties: Florida stone crab claws!

Stone crab season begins October 15 and closes May 15.  When the crabs are caught, one or both of their claws are twisted off and the crab is thrown back into the water where it will regrow its claws within a year or so.  Claws must be at least 2.75 inches long to be harvested, ensuring sustainably caught seafood for years to come. 
The six claws above weighed one pound, came conveniently pre-cracked, and cost about $18.95.  That same amount would easily set you back double in Chicago.  The experience of eating freshly caught stone crab claws dipped in a creamy mustard sauce while overlooking the water on that lovely Floridian afternoon can’t be beat (especially if you knew what the weather was like that day in Chicago!).


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