I'm re-posting "Where to Eat Maryland Blue Crabs" in honor of blogging for the bay, co-hosted by Foodietots and Arugulafiles. The population of blue crabs in the bay is threatened by overfishing and pollution. With the help of smart and disciplined fishery management, they are coming back. We must continue these efforts. Sign the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s petition urging the EPA to quit delaying action to help save our Bay.
If you have ever set crab traps, you know that live blue crabs are aggressive and will charge at you when approached. I learned this after my first and only attempt at crabbing. I was staying at a summer house in Virginia appointed with some crab traps and a small dock. Fascinated by the whole catch-my-own dinner experience, I cut up a few chicken breasts, placed the bait in the trap, and waited. The next day I found one lonely crab in the trap. He was mad as hell. When I tried to take him out, he snapped, charging at me with the confidence of a Spanish bull.
I've heard that blue crabs hurt when they bite, sort of like a long, mean pinch from your older brother, so I got a set of kitchen tongs. The crab saw the tongs as his opponent in the ring, so to say, snapping at them every time I reached into the trap. With help from Marcus, I finally got him out, setting him in a pail while I decided how to prepare him. Then it hit me, I didn't want to kill this crab. I couldn't do it. He was a fighter. I know it sounds absurd, but he wanted to live too badly. So I brought him down to the river, turned the pail over, watched him run off the end of the dock, and plop into the water like a fat kid performing the last canon ball of the summer.
Clearly, I have no career in the fishery arts. Now if I want crabs, I rely on someone else to catch 'em and cook 'em. And for that there is no better place than Cantler's Riverside Inn, in Annapolis, on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Cantler's is a Maryland institution. For about 35 years, crab men have docked their boats and sold their catch to the restaurant. Cantler's steams the crabs for about 12 minutes in old kegs converted to steamers. I wonder what a live crab thinks when they are placed in a steamer and all of a sudden it's raining Old Bay? Don't think about it.
Try to get a seat outside by the river. Order some steamed crabs and shrimp, and a few beers. Settle in. Forget about the rest, "like time is not a thing for you to lose."
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