Sweet, tender crabmeat is always a treat, whether it's Dungeness, king crab, or snow crab from the icy Pacific; stone crabs from Florida; or Maryland's famous blue crabs, both hard-shell and soft-shell. You can buy live crabs and steam them at home, or buy presteamed whole crabs or crab legs at the seafood counter. Preshelled crabmeat is available in several different varieties, graded according to the size of the chunks of meat. From highest to lowest, the grades are: Colossal, Jumbo Lump, Lump, Special, Back Fin, and Claw Fingers. Soft-shell crabs are those that have recently molted, and whose exoskeleton is still soft and edible. Once cleaned, soft-shell crabs are eaten whole.
Chopped parsley, light mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and Old Bay seasoning complement (but don't overpower) the flavor of the crab in these excellent patties. Economize when preparing this recipe by using a combination of claw and lump crabmeat.
The flavors of the classic brunch cocktail inspired this cool soup made with fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, Tabasco, horseradish, and lime juice. Add a little vodka if you like, and top each bowl of soup with jumbo lump crabmeat and freshly grated horseradish.
Jumbo lump crabmeat mixed with scallions, soy sauce, wasabi paste, and lime zest is formed into bite-size rounds and coated in breadcrumbs and sesame seeds before frying. Garnish each crab cake with small slices of cucumber, pickled ginger, and wasabi mayonnaise just before serving.
To make this recipe from actor Robert Duvall, mix jumbo lump crabmeat with mayonnaise, beaten eggs, grated onion, and plenty of cayenne pepper. Serve the crab cakes with tartar sauce made by combining mayonnaise with chopped cornichons, capers, grated onion, and lemon juice.
To make chef Bobby Chinn's recipe, mix crabmeat with minced pork or beef, ginger, cilantro, Thai bird's-eye chili, and pomelo segments, and serve the salad in iceberg lettuce cups.