Friday, October 19, 2012

San Blas Crabs

There are two kinds of crabs in Mark and my life these days, while hanging about the San Blas islands. Neither plays a very important role, but they are present around us every day. The first one is a tiny crab of the grey kind. Every time we take a shower off Irie’s back step, we see them settled near the water’s edge of the step. They scurry away and try to hide when you come too close, but they are our permanent pets. We’ve been having some for months. They start out tiny and then grow to about an inch, which is really not that big. We tolerate them down there, but get a bit creeped out when they reach all the way in the cockpit.

The other kind of crab is of a bigger kind and of the color red. The Kuna Indians selling fish, lobster and undersize conch sometimes carry them in their dugout canoes when they sail or paddle from cruising boat to cruising boat. Until recently we have not bought any, because – honestly – we didn’t really know what to do with them and they seemed a lot of work. The only time we saw one while snorkeling was when they were out of season. We always said we would try one of those crabs one day and that moment came a few days ago, when Mark noticed a biggie in one of the passing canoes. We managed to buy this “giant” male for $2; a really good deal. Somehow, we also managed to get the creature with all its appendages in our pressure cooker, which is our biggest pot and “lobster steamer”. Then, it took Mark over an hour to get all the juicy meat out of the shell, legs and massive claws. He collected about a pound of lovely fresh crab meat, which was turned into two delicious dinners. I discovered I like the taste even better than lobster. What a spoil!

The crab was slightly too big for our pressure cooker, but was a perfect fit for our sink. Unfortunately, you can't steam a crab in a sink...

Mark needed to use a tool from his toolbox to conquer the big claws...

Tools for successful San Blas crab meat picking. And, the fruit of Mark's labor; lots of crab meat!

Final result (1/2 anyway): a lovely crab pasta dish - I couldn't resist posting another picture of food!

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