Stone crab claws are known for their large, juicy, sweet pieces of crab meat. As a decadent treat, stone crab claws are served for special occasions, as part of a light meal or as part of a selection of hors d'oeuvres. While the crab meat can be eaten plain, the claws are most often served with a selection of dipping sauces. Choose your accompanying dishes based on whether the claws are part of a meal or function more as an appetizer.
Video of the Day
Stone crab claws can be served warm or chilled. The temperature of the claws determines which sauce is most suitable.
Clarified butter, where the milk solids are removed from melted butter, leaving only rich, golden yellow butter fat, is a classic choice for steamed seafood, including stone crab claws.
The lemon wedge that often accompanies butter-based sauces can add needed acidity to chilled or warmed claws.
Mustard-based sauces are a blend of mustard, mayonnaise or yogurt. These sauces are best served with chilled crab claws, as the cool creaminess of mayonnaise and yogurt does not pair well with warm claws.
To make a mustard-based sauce, combine your favorite mustard -- such as Dijon, whole grain, honey mustard or prepared yellow mustard -- with an equal amount of mayonnaise.
For a lighter sauce, replace half the amount of mayonnaise with regular yogurt or sour cream.
Mayonnaise-based sauces are similar to mustard sauce, but instead use fresh herbs or other seasonings to flavor the sauce. Combination ideas include orange zest and horseradish for a mildly spicy, citrus-scented dipping sauce, or a simple blend of fresh minced cilantro and green onion, mixed with mayonnaise. Like with mustard-based sauces, mayonnaise-based sauces are best with chilled stone crab claws.
If the texture of a mayonnaise-based sauce is too thick, thin it out with 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, water or even brandy per 1/4 cup of mayonnaise.
Vegetable dishes served alongside chilled crab claws makes for a light meal. While you can stick with a simple vinaigrette-dressed green salad (the acidity of the dressing will help temper the richness of the crab meat), choose a vegetable side to complement the type of sauce served with the stone crab claws.
For example, a green papaya salad is spicy and sour, and the Asian flair lends itself well to a Sriracha mayonnaise dip. Another combination could be a heart of palm salad, where the crunch of the palm hearts and the tanginess of the dressing gives the stone crab claw meal a Mexican flair. Consider serving alongside nacho chips and pico de gallo, as well as lime wedges to dress the crab.
For warm crab claws, keep your vegetable dish warm or at room temperature. A selection of seasoned, grilled or roasted vegetables would turn warm stone crab claws with garlic butter sauce into a filling meal.
To incorporate your stone crab claws into a more filling meal, pair the crab claws with heartier side dishes. Rosemary roasted potatoes or sweet potato fries are fast to make and can transform a light meal into a more filling one. Similarly, grain-based salads, such as a quinoa, cucumber and jalapeño pilaf, make for a light-tasting, but filling stone crab claw meal.
If the stone crab claws are intended as an appetizer, they do not need to be served with side dishes. In this case, pair your other appetizer or hors d'oeuvres based on whether the stone crab claws are served chilled or warm.
Serve chilled stone crab claws with other cold, seafood-centric appetizers, such as shrimp cocktail or ceviche. Warm stone crab claws can be paired with warm seafood appetizers, such as devils on horseback -- bacon wrapped warm dates -- or baked coconut shrimp.