Whether you like it sandwiched between two rolls and smothered with sauce or slivered and fried into a savory cake, there's no wrong way to prepare crab meat. A luxurious seafood item that can be dressed up to your liking, there's only one problem with eating crab: We often let the shell go to waste. Next time you prepare a dish from a whole crab, spare your garbage can and use the shell as a plate, platter, or bowl instead.
For starters, using a crab shell as tableware imparts a subtle yet distinctly oceanic flavor to the food it holds, and if you generously season your dish, the crab shell will hold onto all of the delicious spices and aromatics you've introduced to your recipe (functional dinnerware for the win!). Serving food in crab shells is also an easy way to elevate the presentation of your meal, invoking a spirit of novelty and elegance that makes your dining experience that much more memorable. Not only does eating out of a shell bolster the flavor and visual appeal of your meal, but it's also an easy way to honor the crab by utilizing both its meat and shell.
Which Crab Shells Work Best
Before you run to your local supermarket to purchase crab, consider the different species to determine which shell works best for presenting your breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Delicate and sweet, the soft-shell blue crab brings a subtle oceanic essence to dishes. Perfect for individual-sized bowls or appetizer portions, these crabs add a touch of sophistication to your dining experience. However, once they've been cooked, they lose their blue hue and take on a rust color instead, so bear this aesthetic shift in mind if you make a choice solely based on its artistic characteristics. With a mildly sweet flavor accented by a delicate nuttiness, the Dungeness crab is an excellent choice for transforming into a medium-sized serving plate. For larger dishes, the rich, buttery, and subtly sweet-tasting king crab makes for the perfect table centerpiece. If you're feeling particularly resourceful, the large, succulent claws of the king crab can be hollowed and stuffed with side dishes, sauces, or other smaller food items and condiments.
Dishes To Serve In Crab Shells
Now that you know which crab species make the best serving dishes, you'll need some suggestions for mouthwatering recipes to serve in them.
For total crab inception, blue-crab bites made with the meat of the crustacean paired with creamy, herb-kissed avocado is a refreshing finger food that will please your guests at parties or curb your appetite between meals. Give a classic dip a tropical twist by serving mango salsa threaded with crab meat served in the shells of Dungeness crab for a sweet and tangy iteration of a Mexican staple. For something hearty, elevate mac and cheese by combining lobster and crab meat with three-cheese-smothered macaroni noodles served in the impressive shells of the great king crab for a rich, hearty, and robust meal. Turn the claws of your favorite crab into a ramekin for creamy, savory salad dressings, fit for drenching refreshing, leafy greens topped with crab meat.
Don't limit yourself to only serving crab-based recipes in the shells. Once you've cooked and enjoyed the meat, save the shells for later and use them for saucy pasta dishes, herbaceous bisques, and fishy ceviches. Remember, the world is your oyster. Or ... better yet ... the world is your crab, so tap into your adventurous side and explore the limitless possibilities of your leftover crab shells.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.