I've been craving Blue Crabs ever since our anniversary dinner in May when I had some soft shells at Terrapin. Afterwards, I couldn't wait to cook some at home. Problem was, we had to wait till they were in season. They are now! I finally made it out to a couple of shops to grab a few dozen to steam.
Unfortunately, though this year's haul looks like it'll be a bad one again. At least that's what I heard from the area's watermen. It's a shame, I remember being a kid and easily filling up a bucket near the house and taking them home for dinner. The day I was looking, I found a couple of spots that had them in stock.
I first checked G Mart in Virginia Beach, VA. G Mart is one of our groceries that carries hard to find Asian and Latino items. I love these places and I remembered that when Blue Crabs are in season they'll carry them for a decent price. When I walked in headed to the back where they keep the seafood I found what I was looking for--apparently so did everyone else. There was a line to pick live crabs out of a large metal bin. They were priced at $3.99 a pound which was great, but they were all female crabs. I always feel bad eating the females because I figured they should be out in the water making baby crabs. I noticed none of them had egg sacs and they were a decent size. While I was checking them out a man from the back dumped more in the bin. I left to check out another place.
Bonney & Sons Seafood in Sandbridge has been around for a while and probably not a place I would have visited when I was younger because it was far from where I lived. Walking into the shop I noticed a couple of old dogs hanging out, obviously comfortable, knowing they belonged there. The staff was running around filling orders, steaming crabs, and checking the trucks behind the shop that delivered fresh seafood. It was very busy with people coming and going picking up orders of shrimp, fish and crabs.
They have a tank with crabs skittering around running water. There was a huge crab in there that had to be 10 inches from point to point--the biggest I've ever seen. Along the back wall were bushels you could choose from: #1 Jimmies Jumbo and regular and #2s too. The #1 Jimmies (jumbo) were going for $120 a half bushel! I thought about getting them, but that would have been a ton of money to fill a craving. The lowest they had were #2s for about $74 a half bushel. I decided to grab some of them but when they checked the back they were all out of bushels and halfs. Really? They didn't have any available in the large either. By the dozen the crabs were going for $30+ and I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
I want to state that I believe they are worth every penny you pay, but I was feeling how light my wallet would feel walking out of there I decided against it.
I ended up going back to G Mart and picking up about 6 dozen crabs at a pretty good price. I took them home and started cooking them. I usually use come cheap beer and Old Bay seasoning, cooking them about 24 minutes in a large, covered pan. While they were cooking I got a pot ready for a shrimp boil and cooked about 1 1/2 lbs of shrimp we could peel. As a bonus, my mother brought over some egg rolls she made! We just about ate everything and the ones we had left over, Shelby and I ate for dinner the next day.