In Venice, the row and tomalley of the female green crab is known as Mazanetta, a delicacy available before the female spawning season. This rich and flavorful caviar can be eaten right from the shell, seared with olive oil and fresh herbs, or used in a variety of seasonal dishes. Like crawfish parties, green crab boils are perfect for social occasions and gatherings.
YOU WILL NEED: Rubber gloves for sorting the live crabs, large pots, a skillet, a wooden chopstick that is tapered at one end, tongs, a spatula, a colander, olive oil, vinegar or white wine
1. Using rubber gloves, rinse the crabs in water to get rid of any sand or grit.
2. Put a pot of water on the stove until BOILING
3. In a pot of boiling water, cook the FEMALE crabs for 8 minutes, remove, and dry on a rack or baking sheet.
4. Using your thumbnail, lift the back of the upper shell, and hinge it forward.
5. Using the thick end of a chopstick, scoop the crabmeat and any orange eggs from the inside forward edge of the upper shell. Press hard against the shell when scooping to get the most meat.
6. Remove the triangle from the underside of the crab; push the thin end of the chopstick into the aperture the triangle has covered to reveal the orange caviar.
7. Either east straight from the shell or add crabmeat, roe, and eggs to a skillet with olive oil, white wine or vinegar, and seasoning.
8. For a classic paté, mash Mazanetta with a fork. To create a creamy paté, place fresh Mazanetta in a food processor blend until desired consistency is reached.
9. To create a stock, add female shells and male crabs to the same pot used to boil female crabs and boil for 20 minutes. The crab stock has a sweet and delicate flavor and can be paired with a variety of vegetables and spices to create a broad range of broths.
This recipe was written by Roger Warner in 2016 based on breakthrough ideas from Paolo Tagliapietra, a third-generation crab fisherman from Venice, Italy, and Jonathan Targgart of Georgetown, Maine.