Stone Crab Etouffee, you say? Never heard of it. Blue crab, sure. Misc. lump crab meat, sure. But, Stone Crab? Trust me….sure!
Stone Crab season runs October 15 through May 15 annually. So, we quite naturally have a fair bit of this delicacy knocking about in the run up to the holidays and beyond. Most folk opt to eat the claws straight up dredging them in butter or one of the many tasty concoctions ( Joe’s Mustard Sauce ) available to accent the flavor of the crab. By the way, it is that flavor, the sweet delicate taste, of the stone crab claws that make it work so well when paired with a stout Cajun Gravy. The sweetness runs beautiful counterpoint to the natural tang (natural the way I make it) of the etouffee sauce. **Don’t miss the Stone Crab Pro Tip after the recipe**
Stone Crab Etouffee Ingredients
The Cajun Gravy
2 Tbsp – Flour
4 Tbsp – Butter
3/4 cup – Onion
1/2 cup – Green Pepper
1/2 cup – Celery
1 clove – Garlic
1/2 Tbsp – Cajun Seasoning
1 Tsp – Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tsp – White Pepper
3 Tbsp – Worcestershire Sauce
5-6 splashes – Tabasco sauce
1 3/4 cup – Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp – Lemon Juice – Fresh Squeezed
2 Tbsp – Tomato Paste
Green onion garnish – optional
The Stone Crab
The claw meat from 2lbs of Stone Crab – Floaters
Most of the fixin’s for Stone Crab Etouffee
It starts here. So many great dishes start here, with butter. In this case the butter plays 1/2 of the role in a nice brown roux. Melt the butter in an iron skillet at medium-low heat. Ad in the flour, whisking vigorously until fully absorbed and there are no lumps. Continue whisking, or stirring as you choose until the roux comes to a nice nutty brown color. This may take a bit, anywhere from 12 – 20 minutes. Regardless the time, never stop stirring. The roux can easily turn on you and without it , well…..No roux, no etouffee. That’s the truth.
Add your diced aromatics (onion, celery and green pepper to the roux, stirring until fully incorporated. Keep stirring. Add your dry spices. Keep stirring.Cook for 5-6 minutes and then add the chicken stock (slowly while stirring), then the Worcestershire and Tabasco. Keep stirring and turn the heat down to simmer.
Stir in the tomato paste, pressed garlic and lemon juice (a pinch of sugar may be in order… cooks choice) and you’l have something that looks like this. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring.
By this time your rice should be ready (you did remember to cook rice, didn’t you?) so, go ahead and drop in the stone crab claw meat, stir for 1 minute and kill the burner. You are ready to plate up some tasty Stone Crap Etouffee.
Note: Since we only use the meat from the claw in this recipe you will have a whole bunch of crab knuckles left over. They are a bit futzy in getting the meat out but it is delicious and goes well in a crab omelette, or as the main event in a crab dip. Bonus!
Stone Crab Claw Pro Tip
Getting to the claw meat with Stone Crabs can seem daunting. Too much punch and you have shell everywhere, specially in the meat. not enough punch and you are there all day trying to get the shell cracked. Here’s my method. Referencing the images directly above, I lay a claw outer side down, take my big kitchen knife turn it sharp edge up… blunt edge down, give the claw a good whack about 1/3 – 1/2 inch below the pincers and when successful both sides crack and you can simply pull the claws py the pincers and out comes the meat. you’ll need to practice to get the right “whack” and for goodness sake, no wild swings… that’s a knife you have in your hands. Be careful.
Now, go make yourself some Stone Crab Etouffee. Bon Appétit and Tight Lines, Captain.