Blue Crabs Boiled in Beer with Lime Pepper Dipping Sauce
Seafood is one of my favorite things to eat; from fish to shellfish, I enjoy them all. I especially love blue crabs for their delicate and mild sweetness. In fact, I enjoy them even more than lobster and they’re much cheaper especially if you catch them yourself. You can catch blue crabs all year round in Florida but during the warmer months they are more abundant. The fact that crustaceans cook up so quickly makes them even more desirable for any night of the week. They can be messy to eat but that’s part of the experience while enjoying blue crabs. Be prepared to get your hands dirty!
Before cooking your crabs, it is important to check that your crabs are alive; dispose of any that aren’t as they have become spoiled. I place them in the sink and splash water on them to check for movement; check their mouths to make sure that it’s moving, or turn the crabs on their backs with a pair of tongs and see if they’ll attempt to flip over. If you don’t plan on using them right away, it is best to keep them in a cool and moist environment. I store them in paper bags or in the vegetable crisper department of the refrigerator and cover them with a wet towel. Just be sure to use them within 24 hours or they’ll die because of the lack of oxygen. Sometimes they may appear dead but are in a dormant state due to the cold. Throw any crabs away that appears lighter in color or is limp.
While blue crabs are delicious as they are, I still enjoy dipping them in this lime and pepper dipping sauce (Muối Tiêu Chanh). It is a common condiment that is used for various Vietnamese dishes. The acidity brings that fresh element to help balance out the richness of some dishes. It especially goes well with any type of seafood. It’s so simple to make yet the flavor adds complexity. There really isn’t a recipe for it, but a good general base is 2 parts salt and 1 part pepper with a squeeze of lime.
- 12 crabs
- 8-10 cups water
- 3 beers (12 oz bottles)
- 1/2 cup old bay seasoning
- 1 tbsp salt
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup scallions (chopped)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or 1 Thai chili (optional)
- 1/2-1 lime
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8-1/4 tsp black pepper
- Fill a large pot with water, add in old bay seasoning, beer, and salt; bring a boil.
- Rinse crabs off under running water with a pair of tongs and add them to the pot. Cook crabs for about 10 minutes or until they have turned bright red.
- In a sauté pan on medium high, melt butter and add garlic in. Sautéed for 1-2 minutes or until slightly brown.
- Add half of the cooked crabs, cayenne or Thai peppers for more spice, and scallions; toss to coat in sauce.
- Turn off heat immediately, squeeze in lime juice.
- Mix together salt, pepper, and lime juice to serve with crabs.