What is Rock crab (Cancer irroratus)?

Rock crab Rock crab

Common names for Rock crab

Peekytoe crab, Atlantic rock crab, bay crab

Other languages for Rock crab

  • French name: Crabe
  • Italian name: Granchio
  • German name: Taschenkrebs

Introduction to Rock crab

Once referred to as “trap trash” (unwanted bycatch in the lobster fishery), the peekytoe crab has evolved into a sought-after table gem, owing to a smart marketing effort by a Maine seafood entrepreneur and the species’ delicate, sweet taste. Known in Down East Maine dialect as “picket toe” or “picked toe,” Rod Mitchell of Browne Trading Co. in Portland, Maine coined the term “peekytoe” for the crab. The new product’s novelty and quality combined to make it a big success. Due to the impossibility of shipping live peekytoe crabs, the flesh must be carefully hand selected. As a consequence, the crab is one of the few remaining “cottage” seafood businesses in the United States. Only a few processors in Maine and Canada focus exclusively on peekytoe, adding to the product’s appeal. Although officially a rock crab species distributed from Labrador to Florida, the term “peekytoes” was initially used to refer to rock crabs collected in Penobscot Bay in Down East Maine. However, when chefs and customers became obsessed with peekytoes, procurement extended to include rock crabs from Nova Scotia to Rhode Island. There is no specialized peekytoe fishery; the crabs are still a bycatch of the lobster fishery, with seasonal availability.

Product profile for Rock crab

Peekytoe is a smaller crab than Jonah, having claws that aren’t large enough to be sold whole. Cooked peekytoe meat is pink or cream with reddish-brown accents, unlike Jonah’s white flesh. The crab has a softer texture and a delicate, sweet-salty taste than Jonah crab.

Cooking tips for Rock crab

Gourmet salads and appetizers, as well as basic treatments, lend themselves to Peekytoe. The flesh of the crab is most commonly combined with mayonnaise and served in crab rolls or crab cakes in Maine, the crab’s native state. All crabmeat-based dishes, such as chowders, casseroles, stir fries, and dips, may be made using peekytoe meat. To retain the delicate flavor and texture of the meat while it cooks, simply heat through as needed for spicy dishes.

Nutrition facts for Rock crab

Calories: 118 Fat Calories: 16 Total Fat: 1.8 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 70.6 mg Sodium: 812 mg Protein: 23.5 g Omega 3: N/A

Primary product forms for Rock crab

Fresh: Cooked (picked meat) Frozen: Cooked (picked meat)

Global supply for Rock crab

Canada, United States, Iran