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January 03, 2012

January Fish of the Month: Stone Crab

Fish-of-the-monthLooking for a New Year’s resolution? Begin 2012 by choosing ocean-friendly seafood. Every month, Shedd shares a sustainable seafood dish. January’s is stone crab. Stone crab can be found on Shedd’s best choice list for sustainable seafood. Not only do we have a delicious recipe for stone crab and kale breakfast bowls—it’s also an environmentally responsible choice!

On the market, “stone crab” consists of two closely related species, Menippe mercenaria and M. adina. These warmwater Atlantic dwellers are primarily caught off the coast of Florida, but their fisheries stretch from Texas to the Carolinas. In the 1970s, Gulf of Mexico stone crab fishermen made a small change that had a big impact for future generations of crab.

Fish-of-the-month-2Fishermen and researchers noticed that stone crabs naturally lose their limbs as a defense mechanism against predators.  Knowing this, fishermen now only remove one claw and throw the animal back alive to regenerate a fresh claw. Fishermen largely harvest male claws from traps, taking extra caution to ensure reproducing females are protected from fishing pressures. But don’t just take our word for it! Peer into your local seafood counter and you will only find stone crab claws for sale.  This simple solution proves how important an animal’s biology is to understanding seafood sustainability efforts.

Stone crab can be thought of as a seasonal, primarily winter seafood choice. The fishing season stretches from Oct. 15 to May 15 and closes during peak reproduction periods in the summer. This seasonal regulation contributes to sustainable populations for the future. You can purchase stone crab at many grocery stores, including your local Whole Foods Market. If you like your crab fresh, test this tasty recipe for stone crab and kale breakfast bowls before the season ends!



Stone Crab and Kale Breakfast Bowls
Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons olive oil
6 wonton or eggroll wrappers
4 stone crab claws, cooked and shells removed
4 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons whipped cream cheese, room temperature
3 scallions, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1½ cups chopped kale
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
Chives, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a large muffin tin with 1 tablespoon oil and carefully press a single layer of wonton wrapper into each cup.
3. Beat together eggs and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in crabmeat.
4. Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent.
5. Add garlic and kale to skillet. Cook until slightly wilted; immediately remove from heat.
6. Combine kale mixture with egg, adding salt and pepper.
7. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the wonton bowls.
8. Bake bowls for 20 minutes. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then plate and garnish with chives.

Posted by Brook Havlik, conservation

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