Paleo in Maryland: Steamed Crabs

I’m a very crabby guy.

But when I say crabby, I don’t mean curmudgeonly or cantankerous, although I’ve occasionally been accused of both.

I mean I love to eat crabs. Steamed crabs.

Maryland steamed crabServe’em up with some ice-cold beer on a picnic table covered with old newspaper and in my humble opinion, you’ve pretty much achieved Nirvana.

But that’s because I’m from Maryland, where steamed crabs are more than food – they’re a way of life. Marylanders have been gorging themselves on steamed crabs since the first settlers paddled up the Chesapeake Bay in 1634, and even before that if you consider Native American tribes like the Nanticoke and the Powhatan.

There was a time when hardly anyone outside of the Delmarva Peninsula – that’s where Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia all collide on the eastern side of the Chesapeake – ate much crabs, but that’s changed in recent years. It’s not hard to get a decent crab cake in most American cities nowadays, but steamed crabs? That’s a different story!

So whenever Lea and I visit my Mom & Dad on Maryland’s eastern shore, we make a point to have steamed crabs. Lea, a native Texan, had never had steamed crabs before she met me, but after 15 years of marriage she can tear into them with gusto! She also likes that eating steamed crabs fits in well with her lower-carb, paleo diet.

Now…a little bit about the crabs, themselves. The ones that we eat in Maryland are called Callinectes sappidus, which means “tasty beautiful swimmer” in Latin. But that’s a mouthful for a Marylander, so we just call them “Blue crabs,” which makes sense because before they get tossed in the pot they actually are…blue.

We like to think of blue crabs as our own, but the truth is they’re found all the way from Nova Scotia down into the Gulf of Mexico and even as far south as Argentina! Good thing, too, because due to over-fishing, most of the crabs we eat are imported from Louisiana! No matter, they’re still blue crabs, and nobody does them like they’re done in Maryland…sorry, Virginia! Continue reading

Pin It