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Unboxing a New Deep Sea Discovery

(BO)X-Files

Crab Case #3 18 1 2

By Chef Brian Wubbena

One time during my shift a manager told me, “There has to be something else out there during the summer.” Frustrated, I responded, “They aren’t making new crabs!” Well, turns out that new crabs might not be invented, but they are being discovered. Enter the brown box crab.

picture of a box crab

A few months ago, I received a box of live lobsters at the restaurant. I pulled out the lobsters and lurking under the hay and packaging were a couple of beady eyes looking back at me. I couldn’t figure out what in the world was in there, and I certainly wasn’t going to put my hand in there to find out. After carefully turning over the box, I was greeted by three of the weirdest looking alien crabs I had ever seen.

picture of fishing boat

After humanely dispatching them (we don’t go in for animal cruelty and live boiling in these parts), I cooked them and holy crab! These things were delicious! I had never seen anything like them. They are the size of a large Dungeness crab, produce more meat and taste like a king crab/stone crab hybrid. They were delightful and I had to learn more.

picture of box crab bucatini pasta

I called the gentleman who sent them to me. We’ve worked with him for the past decade or so and I couldn’t believe that he had never told me about them. As it turns out, he didn’t know about them either until recently. He started catching them in really deep water and, being a naturally curious guy, he took them to the California Fish and Wildlife Department. There, he was given an experimental license to fish them and bring along scientists who would study their patterns.

picture of fishing boat

Brown box crabs are related to the King crab and are active all year round. There isn’t an established season thus far, but due to the experimental license they aren’t widely available at all. I’m very proud to say that Truluck’s will be showcasing this exquisite crab in our restaurants this summer. We’ll cook a whole crab, deshell it, make it into a pasta and stuff it back in the shell. It’s absolutely dynamite, and we can’t wait for you to try it. Your table is waiting.

picture of box crab bucatini pasta