This Friday was fish day, just like it used to be when I was growing up. Me and my bestie were craving blue claw crabs so the search was on. Finding blue claw in the Tampa area, for a reasonable price, in any supermarket is truly mission impossible. We had to go underground, and yes, there is an underground fish trade going on in Tampa, thank God.
Word to the wise, if you want crabs on a Friday you have to start out kind of early and if you work you will have to plan ahead. I happened to be off that day but if you’re not you will need to pack the cooler in your car and ice the crabs once you score.
First we tried the legit way, we went to Hillsborough Ave and 32nd St. There are two buildings, one says Florida Produce and the other says Live Crabs. If the boat is parked out front you know they just got a delivery. We got there about 2pm and the boat was out front. We hurried inside but they had already sold out. Damn! The mission had begun.
We decided to see if we could find the crab man on Waters Ave & Sheldon but nobody was there. undeterred, we headed for 275 & Hillsborough. There in a field we saw a truck parked behind a sign that said Blue Claw Crabs. Score, but first we had to hurry to an ATM, as these operation usually only accept cash. We hoped they would be there when we got back. We got some cash, popped a Uey and headed back. There was only one car ahead of us but he pulled out a cooler big enough to store a body. We worried he would buy them out.
Finally it was our turn. The crabs were $10.00 a dozen. We took 5 dozen. When the crab man opened the cooler you could still smell the ocean. The crabs were lively and fresh from the sea. We gave him $50.00 and he gave us a little bit of heaven wrapped in five brown paper bags.
We dropped the crabs at her house and headed for Wal-Mart, mission accomplished. One of my friends hates when I do this because she feels that if the fish is not good no one is accountable and she is right. However, I know good fresh fish when I see it and with all the supermarket recalls I don’t see that this is any more dangerous. The prices are low because there is no overhead and the fish is fresher than anything you can get from Publix.
Here’s my crab boil mix. This was good for the 5 doz we had. Fill the biggest stock pot you have 3/4 of the way with water and add the ingredients below. Bring to a rolling boil before adding crabs.
1 can Old Bay
2 pkgs Crab Boil
2 bottles of Yuenling Beer
3 tbsp of Red Pepper Flakes
Cold beer, crabs and corn on the cob. Now that’s what I call a succesful mission.