Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crab Claws

The last time I was up in Virginia, Stephanie and I were working hard, eating peanut butter M&M's, when she turned to me and said, "Have you ever had fried crab claws?" Excited, and thinking maybe she had a stash under the table, I replied, "Yes!" She continued, "Nobody around here knows what they are. Crystal was trying to explain them to everybody, but we don't have them here."

Needless to say, I was shocked...SHOCKED.

Background story: my very first job out of college was working with Crystal's husband, John Paul, and Crystal's sweet sister, Amber. And actually, Crystal, you worked there part-time, too, didn't you? Crystal and Amber grew up in the South, too. After Crystal and JP got married, they moved to Virginia and now both work at the place where I work, too...just remotely.

Ha, could that paragraph be more vague. I just didn't want to give away my cover as an FBI... analyst...designer? I don't work for the FBI. That's a joke............or is it? I dunno...maybe we DO work for them. Justin's always wearing sunglasses and whispering stuff into his sleeve. Anyways. All that to say, Crystal is from around here. And she knows good food.

Yeah, I was surprised none of them knew about fried crab claws. I say "none," but I guess some of you do and just didn't speak up, which is kind of traitorous, but whatever. I think Crystal said Kevin knew about them, actually. But, it's Virginia...y'all are like the original South. And it's a coastal town! Crabs own businesses there. You don't have cobblestone have crabblestone streets. Crabs teach your children at school. I just don't understand why nobody has fried their claws yet. I sound like I'm blaming y'all. It's not your fault. I don't know whose fault it is, but it needs to be remedied.

Growing up, we used to eat at this restaurant called the Old Mill a short drive from our house. You could ask me what kind of stuff they have on their menu, but I couldn't tell you. I've eaten there probably 109 times and I've only ever ordered the fried blue crab claw plate. Comes with fries and two hush puppies. You can eat them with tartar sauce or marinara sauce or whatever you want to put on them. They're good every which way.

So, I wanted to educate you about fried crab claws and maybe you could petition the state department to start including them on menus state-wide. Because they're sooooo good and you would love them!

After they used the big claw for some fancy dinner, most chefs would throw away the small, underling claw. I hate waste. So, some brilliant chef decided that there was some good stuff to be had along with those little claws, too, so he just fried the meat in some batter. And it's not a normal batter. It's not crispy like fried chicken and it's not super thin like something tempura fried. It's a thick batter and it's kind of soft. Not soggy, but perfect.

You hold the claw part, dip the other end in your sauce of choice, put your teeth all the way to where the soft battered part meets the hard shell, bite down, and pull the claw away from your mouth as you scrape all of the meat off in one chomp.
This is what it looks like after you get the meat off. Like fairies' wings. I tell you what, if fairies could cook (everybody knows they can't), they would make fried crab claws every night.

As accurate as my drawings are, I figured you might need a realistic picture, too.

And there you have it. I'm sorry they're not more readily available there. To be honest, I don't know where I can get some around here. I'd have to go home. The last time I had good crab claws was when I did a photo shoot at the beach about 3 years ago. The time before that was when we went to the Old Mill with Mamaw and Papaw A when David and I stayed with them while we were taking our motorcycle class about 3.5 years ago. Yeah, that's how good they are. You always remember when you ate them last. Maybe we can talk Justin into letting us have a crab fry the next time I'm up there, Crystal.

Great. Now I want crab claws.


  1. YES!!! Let's talk Justin into letting us do a crab fry! Or...we'll just not talk him into it...we'll do it at my house. Now I want crab. Thanks, Ruth.

  2. One of the high school's mascot is a crab...Hampton Crabbers!!! If Katie is going to do a fry at her house, does that mean her fab-u-lous husband gets to buy an outdoor fry-thingy?

  3. i hope crys reads this post. as of the last thing i know, the only seafood she eats is fried crab claws. she was like you growing up-she wouldn't care what else was on the menu, just get her some fried can get them around here-they have them at fish market and they are pretty good. they also have a not fried version which i'd like to say is healthier but i'm not sure it is. also, a lot of places serve them with a buttery sauce to dip in-at least the ones i've had. my faves are at the shrimp basket in gulf shores.
    they are definitely one of the best foods to come out of the south and a lot of people are clearly missing out!!


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