harbi ngers of summer
& TOMATO by Colleen Thompson
SOUTH LUMINA AVENUE’S GEORGE CLARK ANSWERS THE AGE-OLD QUESTION:
WHAT IS THE SECRET TO KILLER CRAB CAKES? “MORE CRAB MEAT,” HE SAYS SIMPLY.
Clark has been catching crabs in Wrightsville’s sounds for 80 or more years. His 90-plus years
make him something of an expert on the crustacean.
During his childhood on Wrightsville, “In those days you could put a chicken neck on a string
and put a weight on it and put it out into the water about four feet deep and wait. In a few min-utes
you could pull in a crab or two.”
In the 1970s, Clark started putting crab pots at the end of his pier. “I could easily get 25 crabs
overnight in one pot,” he says. “I never took more than I needed, but they were there.” He has
been putting crab pots out there every year since, and he is quick to bemoan the decline in the
number of blue crabs. Clark says the summer before last, from April 1 to December, he caught a
total of two blue claw crabs. And none last summer.
Clark’s favorite way to prepare crab: “When I get crabs, I pour boiling water over them to
kill them. I cut the legs off, take the backs off, and all the stuff outside of the shell. I break
the shell in two. I put a stick of butter in the frying pan, add the ½ crabs into it and sauté
them in a lot of garlic salt.” He then spreads newspaper on the table, dumps the crabs and
breaks them apart.
Blue crabs are harvested from our Atlantic waters from May to August and we’ve come to
associate them with summer feasts and ice cold drinks. Their Latin name Callinectes sapi-dus
means “beautiful swimmer” and they are renowned for their unusually blue-green hued
shells and distinctive sweet meat. They’re excellent just steamed and seasoned with Old Bay
seasoning, enjoyed by the whole family on hot summer days. The perfect summer trio: crab,
corn and tomatoes are an unbeatable combination.
DIGITAL ARTWORK BASED ON A PHOTO BY JAMES DEMERS/PIXABAY