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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Stone crab claws give taste of the south

By Paul Suplee,

(June 8, 2023) The other day I was sitting on my couch wondering what the plan of action was. The sun was rising, summer aromas of cut grass and blooming flowers wafted through the air and then I put the brakes on for a moment.

Perhaps I’m aging more as time moves on, because I realize that I’m tired and I am ready to take a nap, despite the fact that I just rolled out of bed.

Alas, as I write this, I am a mere month exactly from being able to move into a senior community. Where does the time go? I digress.

I have always been an early riser and I have noticed lately that the spring in my step takes just a little more effort than in my youthful days. That’s fine as I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I am fortunate enough to be here now and hopefully I’ll be here for many years to come. Beggars can’t be choosers, and I consider myself a beggar because I honestly don’t know how I have lived this long with all of the stupid things I’ve done in my life, and every day down here is a true blessing.

As much as I will miss my backyard, it is time to downsize but I will stay here for probably another ten years or so. I have a deep appreciation for our little nugget of paradise, something that took me quite a few years to grasp. We moved out of Baltimore 24 years ago and never looked back, but it took me years to fully comprehend what we have at our disposal on The Shore. It is rather mind-boggling.

With that being said, is there anyone here who does not like to jump in the car and drive to the Outer Banks for a couple days or take an extended trip down to Georgia or Florida? It might just be me, but the thought of driving south always makes me grin. I have talked about moving to Florida someday, but then I think it will lose its allure. I think I’ll just downsize here and find a small shack down there for the rare road trip or use Airbnbs when I travel. That would save a lot of money to boot.

When I do go south, I like to explore the waterfront and water-themed restaurants. There are so many up and down the coast, and as the season hits, the crabbers and fishermen start hitting the stone crabs offshore.

You must keep your eyes open and follow them on social media to see what they have coming in. I religiously follow Skilligalee Seafood and Seaborn Seafood out of West Ocean City. Both are family owned businesses and they are rather adept at keeping their customers informed on what’s coming in on the next boat.

When I saw that Seaborn had some stone crab claws, I jumped into action and got down there to not miss the opportunity. They don’t always have them, so taking the opportunity will wake any old man up from a nap-like stupor.

These crab claws remind me of the Keys, of St. Augustine, of Jekyll Island and other sunny southern places I love to visit, my mind packed with beautiful food and drink memories, memories with friends and memories with family.

OK, now I’m awake.

Stone Crab Claws

Serves 6

Around 1 lb. crab claws per person (they can help you at Seaborn)

2 c. Mustard Sauce (Recipe follows)

2 c. Lemon Old Bay Butter (Recipe Follows)

  • Set up a steamer like you would for blue crabs. You typically do not need to season these, as the meat is so sweet that it stands on its own
  • Since you will be buying your claws pre-cooked, simply steam the claws for 3-7 minutes or until warmed all the way through. It all depends on how much steam force you can get out of your gear
  • Remove and place on a platter and serve with the mustard sauce, lemon butter and butter wedges
  • If you are a super-nice host, you will at least crack the main part of the claw, as these shells are considerably thicker than blue crabs
  • Pick, dip and enjoy, all while enjoying the summer air or pretending that you are down in the Keys. That, I leave up to you

Florida Mustard Sauce

makes about 2 cups

1 c. Duke’s Mayonnaise (shame on you for using anything else)

2 Tbsp. Agave sweetener

¼ c. Ground horseradish

¼ c. Yellow mustard

2 Tbsp. Dijon or spicy mustard

1 Tbsp. Hank’s hot sauce of your choice

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and allow to sit in the icebox for at least six hours to allow the flavors to marry, or at least get to know each other

Lemon- Old Bay Butter

makes about 1 cup

2 sticks whole butter

Juice of 1 lemon

Old Bay or other seafood seasoning, to taste

  • I know I’m going to stir the pot a little bit by writing this, but I much prefer melted whole butter to clarified butter. The lemon will naturally meld with the water in the butter, so a little stir with a crab claw will bring it all together
  • Melt the butter and add the lemon juice and seafood seasoning. Adjust to taste and keep warm for dipping

— Paul Suplee is the owner of boxcar40, boxcar on main,
boxcar crafted events and sportfish catering.