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Eating Steamed Hard-Shell Crabs

Martha Stewart Living Television

Perhaps nothing is as strongly associated with the Chesapeake Bay as steamed hard-shell blue crabs. The Latin name for these magnificent creatures is Callinecetus sapidus, which means "savory beautiful swimmer." Rob Cernak, owner of Obrycki's Crab House in Baltimore, claims he never lets a day pass without eating at least one. Below are his instructions for how to eat  steamed hard-shell crabs.

Eating Steamed Hard-Shell Crabs How-To
1. After the crabs have been steamed, let them cool slightly before you handle them. Dump them onto sheets of kraft paper or newspaper. Begin by breaking off the pincer claws and legs, and set them aside. Place the crab on its back, and insert the tip of a paring knife into the "apron," the flap on the underside of the shell. Pull it up and back to pry off the shell. Next, pull out the gills and the "dead man," the spongy matter surrounding the gills.

2. Fold the shell inward, and crack it in half. Cracking it inward rather than outward makes removing the meat easier. After pulling out the white top meat with your fingers, pull back on the back fin (it looks like a lump) near the back of the shell. This meat is particularly delicious.

Try Rob Cernak's recipe for Chesapeake Bay Crabs.

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