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Ingredient

Peekytoe Crab

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A.K.A

rock, sand, or bay crabs

What is it?

There’s a rags-to-riches story behind the peekytoe crab, a favorite ingredient in high-end restaurants. These crabs, known more commonly as rock, sand, or bay crabs, used to be just a throwaway byproduct of the lobster industry. But that all changed when a marketing campaign by the Browne Trading Company in Portland, Maine, amped up the crab’s appeal (and its price) by giving it a stylish, new name: peekytoe.

The name is derived from the word “picked,” which is Maine slang for “pointed.” The crabs have legs with a sharp point that turns inward, a “picked toe.” In Maine, “picked” is often pronounced with two syllables, and eventually “picked toe” morphed into “peekytoe.”

How to prep:

The small crabs themselves are too fragile to ship live, so they’re cooked and picked prior to shipping. The delicate, sweet, white and pale-pink-speckled meat best lends itself to straightforward preparations where its flavor can really shine.

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