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Saturday Crab Boil for the Family

August 7, 2011 by Joan Nova in Family Food Fight, Family-Size Meals, Fish/Seafood | 11 Comments

While “life” has gotten in the way of those regularly scheduled Family Food Fights, we’re still a family that loves to eat together. And, even if we’re not competing, you can bet your bottom dollar we eat well. Welcome to Saturday’s crab boil at my son and Julie’s house. 

My sister and brother-in-law had just returned to Florida from a 41-day cross country road trip that included Canada and a week’s cruise in Alaska. They had stories and pictures to share and we were a willing and welcoming audience.

Jim was in charge of the protein and I made the sides. He was leaning in a different direction when we last spoke but, at the last minute, made the choice to go with the crabs. (Yay!) Since the sides were already planned/semi-done, we didn’t go the traditional route with corn and potatoes in the boil mix. Not that we ever do anything traditional.

Jim made a delicious bath for these beautiful blue claw crabs with Zatrain’s shrimp boil mix, lemons, oranges, onions, garlic and his new favorite beer, Magic Hat.

After a nice cool shower in the sink

they were taken out to the yard for their boil.

With such a beautiful setting and such a tasty bath, we didn’t feel (too) badly when they were added to the pot.
It doesn’t take long for that beautiful blue color to turn red.
Meantime, we set the table with newspapers layered over a plastic tablecloth, bowls of water to dip/clean the crabs, shell bowls, various utensils to crack them open and the side dishes I made (peach salad with radicchio, fennel, gorgonzola and a balsamic glaze; fried zucchini; and slow-roasted sweet potatoes in cilantro-lime butter.)
Oh, yes, he threw in a couple of pounds of shrimp too, which were so delicious that I’d consider doing a small shrimp boil stovetop with this recipe. 
We had two huge platters and our teenager, who prefers Snow Crabs, got a special plate.
Interestingly, because there is work involved in getting at that juicy sweet crab meat, dinner takes longer than usual and although it wasn’t a ‘heavy’ meal, we all agreed that we were so full by the end. Or maybe we were just tired. This is definitely the kind of dinner where paper towels (lots of them) work better than napkins…and sharing with loved ones makes it all the more special.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. bellini says:

    Living by the sea with all of that succulent seafood has to be one of the pleasures of life in Florida. Bon Appetito!

  2. mjskit says:

    I am SO jealous! My absolute favorite thing to eat is blue crab boiled just like Jim did it! I can taste it now. Great post, great pictures, and I’m sure – GREAT meal!

  3. Katie says:

    I absolutely love crabs (and shrimp!). It’s been so long since I’ve had a good crab boil. It sounds like you and the family sat down to a great meal. Cheers, Joan!

  4. Look at all of the fabulous blue crabs. Wow. Crabs are a lot of work, but well worth it, especially if you have some help.

  5. aw! I want some to-night!!! Just perfect, eaten casually outdoors on the newspaper…

  6. What can I say! This looks so much like my families summer lobster bakes. I remember as a kid we would make large baskets of crabs and ieat them out in the yard then had to jump into the ocean to clean off. Great photo’s and looks like a fun family gathering.Tthe landscape photo is beautiful. I think Mary should join our class.


  7. Lori Lynn says:

    Sounds like a fabulous summer party. Love the shot of the crab being lowered into the pot.

  8. An excellent feast, those crabs must be so awesome to taste!

  9. There are piles of similar looking crabs in my fishmonger in Dubai but I only know how to deal with the large brown crabs we get in UK so have not been brave enough to try them. These instructions are exactly what I need and I’m bookmarking now. Are there any tips about preparing the crabs before boiling (or how to get the meat out and what to avoid eating)? Cheers Joan

  10. norma says:

    That’s it…I want this next time I am in town. Must look for that beer.

  11. Sippitysup says:

    Sometimes (only sometimes) do I miss my life in Florida. this is one of those times. fabulous. GREG

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