Camilo / Spotted Hard Shelled Crab


I wasn’t always so at home in a wet market. In fact, as a kid, I despised markets and would occasionally faint if forcibly dragged to one. I know now it was from anemic blood, bad carotids and low sugar levels, not a predisposition for fainting at the site of raw meat or fish guts. Today, however, I find that I really enjoy my market forays as they tell me exactly what is in season, what is freshest and what should inspire a meal at our home. Great food is only possible with great ingredients so it is inevitable that you look further down the chain from farm to table. Supermarkets just don’t cut it for me anymore. Provincial or town markets also seem to yield things that you wouldn’t normally see in big or small city markets. So last week, in the midst of my seafood buying frenzy, one of my sukis asked me to consider buying a whole tray of these unusual looking spotted crabs…

Called Camilo in Batangas, the spotted crabs were from “deeper waters” and had the “sweetest meat,” she insisted. They certainly looked terrific so spot2I decided to buy one large one to give it a try. Untied and totally fresh, this frisky fellow was difficult to get onto a scale and a plastic bag. Back home, I noticed they had given me a specimen with uneven sized claws, a sign that the crab had earlier lost one of its claws (whether by accident, in a tousle to save the honor of his crabby girlfriend, etc.) and had re-grown the limb. There was something fascinating about this which made the crab even more interesting to me. Imagine if I cut off one of my arms and it grew back but was shorter then my other arm? How bizarre would that be? Could my dress shirts and suits be altered to still look becoming? Not to mention cutting off other body parts…

At any rate, I decided to cook this crab in a very simple manner. I heated up a frying pan, dismembered and cleaned the crab, heated up some olive oil and a large chunk of butter, spot3threw in some chopped garlic and added the crab parts in and seasoned generously with salt and pepper and tossed until cooked. With a fresh squeeze of lemon on everything, I peeled the crab and sank my teeth into some pretty firm and incredibly good crab meat. Frankly, I still like alimango better but this crab was quite special as well. Once cooked, the distinguishing characteristics of this spotted crab were an incredibly hard and thick shell (don’t use your teeth to crack the legs open!), a really pleasant yellow ivory color and orange in some parts of the shell and a dense thick meat. I would certainly have this again…


7 Responses

  1. i haven’t seen that kind of crab but i am keen to cook that one of these days (this week end perhaps). i usually cook crab in a simple manner. I heated up a frying pan, dismembered and cleaned the crab, heated up some cooking oil, put some chopped garlic and added the crab parts in and seasoned generously with salt and pepper.happy long week end everybody!

  2. This is similar to the stone crab, the shell is also thick and the claws are very hard…Yup!!! Don’t ever use your teeth to crack the legs…I normally grill the crabs instead of steaming it, the juice comes out sweeter…and sometimes(whole, not cut), I fried it in Olive oil and three Tbs of coffee beans…the best crab that i ever tasted was the Spider Crab(similar to the coconut crabs)…this is heck a sweet!!!!

  3. Yummy! Oh dear, its been so long since i last ate crabs. Its difficult to find fresh crabs here, mostly in market are frozen, doesnt taste good. Nice blog.

  4. oh my gosh! my first thought when i saw the pic was — a crab made of chocolate??? absolutely gorgeous! haven’t seen one of these in forever…



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