October 15 marked the beginning of Florida stone crab season, a seven-month bonanza on one of the tastiest delicacies the Gulf of Mexico has to offer. The stone crab claw is sought after for its light, sweet meat from the claw, which, when served with freshly drawn butter and a squeeze of lemon will make a believer out of the most stubborn landlubber. In South Florida, we are in the heart of stone crab territory, and TruLuck’s fisheries, located on the Isle of Capri, are at our service.
The stone crab can be a fickle creature, living in estuaries, grass beds, reefs and rocky jetties. Feeding on oysters (no wonder they are so delicious), stone crabs spend most of their time scurrying from predators, burrowing from predators and crushing oyster shells with their deliciously powerful crusher claws.
TruLuck’s fisheries harvest crab daily from October through May, bringing fresh claws directly from the sea to the table. Shipping to all 11 locations of the restaurant, the 16 boats operating out of Isle of Capri run at full tilt, harvesting between 20 and 800 pounds per boat, per day. The recipe is simple: boil the crab immediately, ship to the restaurants and serve cracked with freshly drawn butter and a special remoulade mustard sauce.
Stone crab is a sustainable food, growing claws back after being declawed during harvest. Fishermen simply pop the claws off of the body and redistribute the crab as they travel from trap to trap. Declawed crabs mainly feed on sea grass, which speeds up time between molting, helping them regenerate their claws more quickly.
Here, managing partner of the Naples TruLuck’s Rick Rinella walks us through the process as the Capri Fisheries boats pull in the bounty of the sea.
698 4th Ave. S.
Naples, FL 34102