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Cooking with Rebecca Bent

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tonya Shows Us How To Pick Crabs

Tonya with her mother, grandmother, and daughter--4 generations of women that really know how to pick those crabs! Tonya's grandmother is so fast and neat, it's amazing. She creates little piles of shells, claws, and crabmeat. Everything is separated and picked to perfection. Back in the day, when she worked for the crab picking house, she could pick 10 crabs a minute! Luck for us, she taught Tonya everything she knows. I watched them both for a while and was simply amazed at their concentration. Nothing gets in-between a Marylander and picking the perfect crab.

Watch Tonya show us how to pick crabs...She's very good at it!


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How to Prepare Soft-Shell Crabs

Soft-shell crabs are harvested in "floats" and shed their shells many times throughout the season (April to September).

Watch our video for two really easy Soft-Shell Crab recipes



Soft-Shell Crab Recipes

> Buy soft-shell crabs from
Click on a recipe below to expand


Sauteed Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich
Makes 2 servings


For the Sauteed Soft-Shell Crabs:
1 teaspoon olive oil or unsalted butter for sauteing
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced or minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons for seasoning
¼ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 cleaned and thawed Hotel soft-shell crabs (approximately 2 ounces each)
optional: pinch freshly ground black pepper or your favorite seafood seasoning

For the Sandwich:
2 large sandwich rolls, split and toasted
2 large tomato slices
2 Boston lettuce leaves
optional: 2 tablespoons Tartar Sauce
In a shallow medium bowl, whisk together the oil or butter, garlic, salt, and parsley and optional black pepper or seafood seasoning. Place the cleaned and thawed soft-shell crabs in the bowl and cover it with the mixture.
Slick a medium skillet with a few drops of the oil/butter mixture and place it over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add in the soft crabs and the oil/butter mixture. Saute the crabs for about 4 minutes per side or until the crabs have reddened and are slightly crispy.

Meanwhile, prepare the sandwich. Place the bottom half of the roll on a plate and cover it with the lettuce and tomato. Remove the crab from the skillet and place it on the sandwich and smother it with tartar sauce. If you wanted you could brush the top roll with the butter mixture from the skillet before placing it o top. Enjoy!

Sauteed Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich Using Olive Oil
Per Serving Nutritional Information
Calories (kcal): 238
Total Fat (g): 11g
Saturated Fat (g): 3g
Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4g
Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3g
Cholesterol (mg): 26mg
Total Carbohydrate (g): 28g
Dietary Fiber (g): 2g
Protein (g): 8g

Fried Soft-Shell Crabs served on a Salad with Thousand Island Dressing
Makes 2 servings

For the Crabs:
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
optional: pinch freshly ground black pepper or your favorite seafood seasoning
¼ cup 1% milk
2 cleaned and thawed Hotel soft-shell crabs (approximately 2 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter for frying
4 romaine leaves, cut into bite-size pieces

For the Thousand Island Dressing:
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon store-bought ketchup
1 teaspoon pickle relish juice
1 teaspoon of pickle relish, if you like it chunky.
In a shallow bowl combine the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, parsley, and optional pepper/seafood seasoning and mix until well combined.
Pour the milk a small bowl and then dip the crabs in the milk and completely submerge them. Remove the crabs from the milk, shake off the excess liquid, and transfer them to the bowl of cornmeal.

One at a time, coat both sides of the crab with the mixture (get as much to stick as possible).

In a skillet large enough to hold both crabs, add in the oil and place it over
medium-high heat. Sauté the crabs for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until slightly crispy.

Meanwhile prepare the Thousand Island dressing. In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle juice, and pickle relish. Whisk together until well combined and smooth. Set aside.

Remove the crabs from the skillet and neatly place them on a bed of lettuce.
Generously drizzle the salads with the Thousand Island dressing and serve.

Fried Soft-Shell Crabs served on a Salad with Thousand Island Dressing
Per Serving Nutritional Information
Calories (kcal): 220
Total Fat (g): 13g
Saturated Fat (g): 3g
Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5g
Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4g
Cholesterol (mg): 21mg
Total Carbohydrate (g): 20g
Dietary Fiber (g): 1g
Protein (g): 6g


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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Selling the Best Crabs

Maryland Chesapeake BayWe've all seen quite a few stories in the news media lately about the decline of the Chesapeake Bay's Blue crab fishery. These articles usually manage to quote various seafood industry people lamenting that a weaker crab season results a willingness of some sellers to pass lower-quality crabs on to the market.

So crab lovers around the country (namely our customers) are probably wondering: how can, located in the heart of the Cheaspeake Bay region, continue to offer Blue crabs that are large, meaty and plentiful with steady prices?

The answer is pretty simple; it's all about good sourcing.

Its hard for the media to take a long view here, because lets be honest - the "sky-is-falling" tone is what gets the reader's attention. But the reality is that the Chesapeake Bay's Blue crab stock is cyclical - with some seasons up, and some down. Regardless of high seasons or low seasons, our philosophy is to buy the highest quality product available and weed out the less desirable. We can't simply can't risk losing a customer over crabs that are too small, or too light on the meat.

We source from several areas in domestic US waters throughout the year to secure the best quality Blue crabs available. Crab runs hit at different times in multiple locations, so you can't source in the same place all year, or you'll be inundated with less than ideal crabs, and as long as it's a Blue crab, quality is quality, whether it comes from Maryland or somewhere else like North Carolina or Louisiana. If we source well, it's not really all that difficult to find premium product.

Markets for cheap, inexpensive lower quality crabs do exist. But "we've been doin' this awhile" as they say, and the watermen (as well as wholesalers) know that The Crab Place is not a part of these markets, and they know that we will return inferior crabs as unsellable. Good sourcing boils down to a single sentence -- "we don't buy the junk in the first place, so you don't have to deal with it."

If it means paying a little more for the crabber to give us a better grade, so be it. Seasonal numbers may in fact be down. And at the end of the day that is not something we can control all that much. But one thing we can control is our standards of quality when it comes to Blue crab, and you can bet that they'll never go down.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Welcome to The Crab Place

At, our respect for the rich tradition of the Chesapeake Bay is matched by our passionate commitment to deliver only the highest quality fresh seafood.

Greg Cain
Matt Cain
Rebecca Bent


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