Time yet again to talk about food.
Crabs this time!
I wanted to title this post “I Had Crabs” since I’ve already “had head” in a previous post but decided against it. Too tacky I guess.
Between the months of October and January, the fishermen of Tartous and Arwad net tons and tons of salt water crabs. In general, crabs are not on the top of the list of Syrian cuisine. But real Tartoussis always consumed these side-walking crustaceans with passion. Besides, they are cheap this time of the year (about $2.00 per kilo).
To get a good lot of crabs one needs to wake up either early and go to the fish market or have somebody on the inside to reserve it. A lot, or one fisherman’s harvest, weighs in at six to seven kilos minimum during this period. It’s very difficult to go wrong with the quality and size in the fall. The crabs are at their best. One thing the buyer should take very seriously though is that they should be fresh, real fresh, alive that this.
Preparation is straight forward and simple. The easiest way by far is having them boiled and eaten immediately afterward. Just follow these simple steps:
1-Place the crabs in a large enough pot and wash them with running water (they should be moving at this time and not dead).
2-Cover the crabs with enough water, add plenty of salt, pepper, a couple of cinnamon sticks and a large onion.
3-Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. 30 minutes of boiling should be just about right.
4-Drain all remaining water and place in a shallow pan.
The next step is optional but makes the crabs easier to eat.
5-Preheat the oven and place the pan inside for 10 minutes. This will help reduce the amount of water trapped inside the shells and makes eating them tidier.
That’s it, really simple.
For the uninitiated, eating them is a little bit more difficult, but I find it incredibly ridiculous to explain how to eat crabs. Suffice it to say that the meat inside the large pinchers is delicious and so are the shoulders (inside the shell where the pinchers meet the body).
A beer or a glass of wine makes the meal a joyful experience. Eat as much as you want, boiled crabs are not very filling. My friend, the one I posted about last time (3 Love Songs) tells me that they are a great aphrodisiac and I have no reason to doubt him at all.