Saturday, March 14, 2009
Bright orange, hand-painted signs throughout Bodega Bay advertise “Fresh Crab from Fisherman.” If you follow these signs, they’ll lead you up Highway 1, left on Eastshore, right on Bay Flat, and eventually to Dock C down at the Spud Point Marina on West Shore Rd. This is where Cathy and Steve Anello sell fresh, live crabs onboard their fishing boat, the Robert Croll (named after famous sea captain).
Note: Photos show other employees onboard. Steve Anello not pictured.
Steve has been a local fisherman for 37 years. Cathy’s been at it for 7 years and has come to love the life of a fisherwoman and in fact is becoming something of an advocate for the local commercial fishing industry.
Today they had a tank filled with dozens of large, active crabs. These guys were lively, moving around faster than any crustaceans I’ve ever seen in restaurant or fish market tanks.
I’m a total novice so Cathy gave me a complete rundown on how to prepare them. First and foremost, she recommends boiling them in sea water from the ocean if possible. “It’s the ultimate, the salinity of their own natural environment gives optimal taste. The crab meat will be incredibly sweet, not at all salty” she insists.
“If you don’t have sea water, add enough salt to your pot to achieve the same salinity, anywhere from ¼ cup to 1 cup, depending on the amount of water.”
Boil the water, add the crab, then cook for 20 minutes after the second boil. They’re full of meat this year and require the full 20 minutes. The backs will lift slightly when they’re done.
Next, chill them in sink bath of ice water. This makes it easier to get them out of the shell. Lift the back off and rinse off the crab butter (although some people like to use it--in cioppino for example). Remove the gray area on each side, those are the gills. The rest is 100% delicious dungeness crab meat.
When I still looked squeamish, she said she can also do much of the advance work for us and all we’d have to do was steam them.
Cathy was a delight and loves her life as a fisherwoman. She and her husband are related to Carol and Tony Anello who own Spud Point Crab Company across the street (with the award-winning clam chowder). Steve and Tony are brothers.
Crab season runs November-June. Cathy says she’s there most days until about 6 p.m., but recommends we call first to check availability. Prices are higher than she’d like this year, $5.99-$6.99 per lb., but it’s due to the limited availability. She expects there will be more crab next year and hopes for a banner season in 2011.
Contact: Cathy & Steve Anello, C&S Fish, 707-494-7612.