Freshly-Caught Pine Cay Land Crab Makes a Delicious Caribbean Meal
The Turks and Caicos Islands are renowned for their fresh seafood and Caribbean-inspired flavors. Wahoo, grouper, conch, lobster and red snapper are all local delicacies, freshly prepared with spiced sauces, as part of a zesty salad, or grilled to perfection. However, a lesser known local favorite is the elusive land crab.
Here on Pine Cay, staffers Rosheka and Sherwyn Drepaul like to go night crabbing in search of Blue, Black and the soft-shell Orange Crab. Crabbing season begins at the end of April and extends to the first week of September when island is pulsing with these crustaceans. “We go in-island and use flashlights to spot the crabs,” explains Rosheka clearly missing the fabulous crab meals she enjoyed over the summer months. “We move quietly, but quickly to pin the crab, and then toss it into a large bucket by grabbing onto the back of its shell.” The crabs are usually found along the sandy inland trails and under the scrubby brush all over the island, during season.
With harvests as large as 38 crabs on one occasion and as few as 9 crabs on most other forays, the Drepauls are quick to point out that no crabs go to waste. “Crabs are housed in a special crate, watered and fed 3 times a day. We will not harvest any more crabs until the first catch has been eaten, and if we have more than we need, we share the bounty with other staffers, friends and family,’ says Rosheka.
And guests on vacation at this secluded island getaway can also join in the fun. If you are fortunate enough, Rosheka and Sherwyn may invite you to go crabbing with them during crab season. “You have to be very, very quiet,” cautions Sherwyn. “And bring your flashlight ‘cuz you got work to do!” pipes in Rosheka with her ever ready, contagious laugh.
Rosheka and Sherwyn Drepaul
Rosheka has worked in Guest Services at The Meridian Club on Pine Cay since, April 2011, in Guest Services and Sherwyn has been involved with Security and Grounds Maintenance since November 2003. They tied the knot in Orlando, FL in early July 2013 with 4 of their 6 children present to watch the beautiful and intimate ceremony. Going crab hunting is a unique way for the newlyweds to enjoy some very quiet time together!
Recipe for Pine Cay Crab and Rice
What you will need:
- 3 crabs
- Vegetable oil
- Chopped onions, green and red peppers, and celery
- Fresh or dried thyme
- Browning (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Separate legs from bodies and remove the “mustard” (or the “green gland” or “tomalley”) and place in a separate bowl.
- Put legs and bodies into (unsalted) boiling water and boil gently for 15 to 20 mins.
- In the meantime, heat the vegetable oil in another large pot, and add in the “mustard”. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring regularly.
- Add 1 cup water, and celery, chopped peppers and onions with teaspoon of browning (optional). Return to boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove boiled crab from water and add to rice pot. Return to boil.
- Add more water to rice pot to bring volume to level needed for the amount rice you wish to cook. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add rice and cook per instructions until rice is fully cooked. No water should remain when rice is fully cooked.
- Serve hot with fried fish or fried chicken, and an icy fruit punch made with pineapple and orange juices, splash of lime juice, and EITHER a splash of grenadine or cranberry juice.
Pine Cay Crab Derby
If watching crabs is more your style, then join the Pine Cay Crab Derby fun during crab hunting season, the island equivalent of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Maybe you can enter your own crab!
Pine Cay brings delivers yet another wonderfully authentic highlight to your private island vacation in the Caribbean.