Soon enough we find our way into The Crab Boil’s dining area which is situated at the far back of the Beach Club and is four long tables set up for communal dining. The group of people sitting with us great company – entertaining, happy and loving food. Definitely the right company for a night focussed on food like this.
The setting is simple but effective, making good use of the space (though the blue lights aren’t quite so friendly from a food photography point of view). But ambiance wise, it hit the nail on the head – and the service throughout the night from the Beach Club’s staff was on point. Swift, friendly and efficient. We definitely were spoiled!
So we donned our bibs, got our mallets in hand and start preparing for our feast. And while the food was being laid out before us we get to hear the fantastic news that the Blue Swimmer Crab Fishery in the Peel-Harvey inlet is seeking to gain Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, the global gold standard for sustainable fisheries.
It’s a world first for crabs and something I think will highlight more than ever Australia’s commitment to sustainable produce. I’ve written all about this recently on the MSC certified toothfish (another of my favourite sea creatures).
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) operates a program based on a scientifically robust standard for assessing whether wild-capture fisheries are ecologically sustainable and well managed. Their mission is to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood and working with partners to ensure the seafood market remains sustainable.
It’s extremely important work and as consumers we need to assume more responsibility in where we source our seafood produce. If we want to be eating these sea creatures in the future, we need to ensure they are being caught in a sustainable fashion and that there is traceability (chain of custody) so we know exactly where they come from. And in the instance of crabs, I guess watch this space because achieving MSC certification will take at least 12 months, but knowing it’s in the wind goes to show that our fine state’s fisheries are doing their bit to showcase responsibility and environmental awareness.
When the crabs hit our table there’s a bit of an awed silence as we take in the glorious sight. It’s definitely like something I imagine you’d see fresh out of New Orleans and the smell is making me a little giddy. I’m such a fiend for seafood!
There’s blue swimmer crabs as far as the eye can see, gills removed and bodies ready for some serious mallet action. There’s also accompanying corn cobs, garlicky potato wedges, lime and bowls of crisp and oh so delicious onion rings. Oh yes, and don’t forget about the housemade aioli which was a little too tasty – I wanted more and more.
I can’t actually remember how many crabs I ate but I can safely say a lot. Probably too many! But when do you ever get such a free for all feast of crabs – I had to indulge and I enjoyed every bite, even when I had some cuts on my hand after from getting a little too excited about the meat in a large claw.
The crabs were cooked perfectly, the meat sweet and soft. This is how crab truly shines, when it’s cooked simply and is freshly caught. It’s no wonder we all got a little quiet during this part of the meal… less talking, more cracking and munching.