Florida Keys Stone Crabs

Chef Martin Liz- Island Jane MagazineFor most locals in Key West the holiday season starts with Goombay, the first of the festivities for Fantasy Fest. For me it starts with my favorite holiday of all, October 15th – opening day for stone crab season!

Every Friday after October 15th a good friend and chef, Justin, gives me the call, “I just got in from pulling the traps and we killed em”. He fishes a hand full of recreational traps with Big Joe and myself until our conflicting schedules knocked me out the loop. But, there is no way I will not make it to his house to enjoy the plunder.

As I pull up to his driveway I can hear the clacking of cracking stone crab shells. The gorging begins. Fresh key limes are picked from the tree in the yard and Justin makes his key lime garlic butter as a dipping sauce. Big Joe brings his homemade cocktail sauce that is better than any other I have tried or attempted to recreate.  Not one claw is sold – many are distributed to family and friends but only when we have eaten stone crab until we just can’t anymore.

Eating a freshly boiled stone crab claw while still warm is possibly the best thing I have ever had. Stone crab enchilado (chilao) with corn meal is another amazing Key West Conch dish. I have even breaded the claw meat with the pincher still on and fried them to try stone crab in another amazing way. As of last night I enjoyed myself a stone crab frittata topped with foie gras and truffle oil.

There is no doubt that there are many delicious ways you can serve them but the traditional drawn butter, Key Lime honey mustard and cocktail sauce is the best.

Justin’s Key Lime Garlic Butter

  • ½ cup of butter
  • 2 large cloves of garlic chopped fresh
  • 2 fresh key limes juiced
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in bowl and microwave for 45 seconds until butter is melted.

Big Joe’s Seafood Sauce

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup of horse radish
  • Juice of 3 key limes
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients bring to a simmer for ten minutes then chill and serve.

Martin’s Key Lime Mustard Sauce

  • 2 cups Mayo
  • 1 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 cup Key Lime Juice
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • Seasalt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Don’t be shy with the pepper, load it up! Mix and serve!

Chef Martin Liz is as "CUZZIE" as they come, multiple generation native, Key West Conch. Chef Martin is Owner and Operator of Key West Personal Chef, Key West Premier Catering and Personal Chef Service. Key West Personal Chef services in your home, vacation rental, bungalow, or yacht. Chef Martin can cook your catch with true authentic local flair or create a customized menu for you, and your guest for your special occasion. Chef Martin is also partners with restaurantor Bobby Mongelli at the Lost Kitchen Supper Club. The Lost Kitchen Supper Club is a social club with a traditional dining experience. Savor an exquisite meal among old friends — and as you break bread making new friends in a reinvented style of dining. Chef Martin makes an amazing array of truly unique, Key West and Caribbean delicacies, utilizing local seafood and exotic, indigenous flora and fauna. His natural creativity, coupled with classical training and a desire to preserve the largely lost, culinary traditions of his heritage, meld an exotic mix of Cuban, Asian, Afro-Caribbean and French-West Indies with tastes that are exclusively, undeniably, Key West. For catering and personal chef services: KeyWestPersonalChef.com Sign up and Join the Club: LostKitchenKeyWest.com Contact Chef Martin Liz: CulinaryConch@gmail.com

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