Taco Tuesday? Fajita Friday? Or simply an excuse-for-a-fiesta-Saturday. All summer long I’ve been tending to the garden as the kids help me water and weed. We’ve tried our hand at growing vegetables and have been thrilled with the results. In addition, my family and I have the good fortune of owning a crab trap. So…. when I mastered the summer challenge of catching crab in the Pacific Ocean, I was very proud. The only obstacle is when I catch too many. Seriously. Listen to myself! Feeling inspired and using my new pastimes to source fresh ingredients, I got our family and friends out of a serious dinner rut with crab tacos.
How to Catch Crab Yourself
The first trick for catching crab (once you have a trap) is the bait. You can buy it at the store, but I prefer frugality. Salmon heads work best, but chicken is also great. If you know people who fish, just ask them for the heads. Fish mongers will also probably give them away. The first time I went crabbing, I used boneless, which it a horrible idea. The crab have no challenge and take it all out right away. The best is if you buy bone-in breasts. Take the majority of the breasts off, and then put the remainder in the bait trap. You will want about 250 feet of line, depending on depth. Our patch is about 100 feet deep.
Measuring Canadian Crap – What you can Keep
Adhering to the Canadian guidelines on crabbing is critical. First, grab a license online. As a rule, all Dungeness and red rock females are thrown back. The males must be 165mm wide if they are Dungeness, and 115mm for red rock. They must be measured immediately, and then throw back the undersized ones.
Identifying Female Crab
The marking on the underbelly of a male crab look a bit like the Taj Mahal. The female displays a wider base. Cleaning the crab (aka. getting the meat out) is a skill, and there are better teachers than I! Usually I steam them whole to be more humane, but others will bash the head on a rock so that the legs and top shell are easily removed.
Crab Taco Recipes
The first step was to shell and retrieve meat from (wait for it…) 8 huge crab. Born and bred in Nova Scotia, I used my lobster-shelling skills and sharp equipment to finish the job. Gathering tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro from the garden, as well as a bag full of lettuce and I was ready.
Salad, Crab Tacos and Homemade Guacamole (serves 10).
12 sliced roma tomatoes
Purple Onions, diced
1/2 c feta cheese
Dressing: 1/2 cup each olive oil and balsamic, salt and pepper and dijon
8 Fresh crab (or 4 tins of store-bought crab)
2 T. butter
1/4 c lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. Grated Cheddar Cheese
1 c. Sour Cream
1 c. yellow corn
1 c. red onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 Packages soft tortillas
note: If you don’t have fish eaters, you can try these Mexican crockpot chili tacos for them.
1. Make the guacamole by combining ingredients listed above. Leaving larger chunks of avocado as you combine with a fork will add texture and interest.
2. Place diced red onions, corn, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, cheese and jalapenos into dishes.
3. Heat crab meat in butter in a skillet over low heat. Add salt and pepper and lemon juice at the 2 minute-mark and cook for 1 minute longer.
4. Warm tortillas in a microwave-safe warmer or in a skillet/oven. To ensure they remain supple and don’t dry out, you can sprinkle with water.
Arrange all individual ingredients and allow your family to assemble their own tacos according to their liking. Bon appetit!