Photograph of a Sand Crab, with it's carapace removed and a spoon scooping the crab mustard and an arrow pointing to where in the anatomy of the crab the carb tomalley is.

Cooking with Crab Tomalley, Crab Mustard, Crab Fat

Crab Guts? – Some recipes call for the inclusion of crab tomalley, also known as crab mustard or crab fat: the white and greenish brown substance found in the body cavity of crabs. Tomalley is the hepatopancreas of the sand crab, which functions similarly to the pancreas and liver in other animals.

It serves a role in digestion and nutrient absorption, as a result, it can contain high levels of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins.
Rich in flavour and nutrients, it is often used to flavour soups, sauces, dips, and spreads.

It’s important to note that consuming tomalley in large quantities may pose health risks due to the accumulation of toxins and heavy metals in the crab’s internal organs, so consume in moderation.

Crab tomalley yielded from crabs that lived in polluted waters should be avoided entirely.

Crab mustard is a delicacy in some cultures that can be used to add a concentrated, savory flavour to a range of dishes and sides, including:

1. Sand Crab Dip: Combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Stir in crab meat and crab tomalley, then season with salt and pepper. Serve with things to dip in the dip, like rice crackers or peeled celery sticks.

2. Blue Crab Butter: Combine crab tomalley, softened unsalted butter, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Serve as a spread for toast, crackers, bread, or bagels.

You can also include it as an ingredient in any logical way with surf ‘n’ turf, including during cooking or as a dollop on top of the steak.

3. Blue Swimmer Crab Bisque: Satee onions, peeled celery, and garlic in butter, then add flour to create a roux. Add chicken broth, cream (or coconut cream), sherry, and crab meat, along with the crab fat. Season with salt, pepper, and sweet paprika, then puree until smooth.

4. Linguine With Sand Crab and Tomalley Sauce: Sautee garlic and shallots in olive oil, then add white wine, tomato paste, and crab tomalley. Cook till heated through, then add yielded crab meat and cooked linguine. Toss to combine until everything is coated, then add chopped fresh herbs such as parsley and basil.

5. Blue Crab Imperial: Combine crab meat with a creamy sauce made from mayonnaise, freshly minced parsley, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and spices including black pepper, celery salt, and paprika. Add the tomalley to the mixture to enhance the flavour and bake loosely arranged in a pile till golden brown and bubbly.

6. Stuffed Squid with Crab Fat: A Mediterranean dish made by stuffing a raw squid tube with a mixture of crab meat, crab fat, breadcrumbs, herbs, and spices. The stuffed squid is then baked or grilled until tender and served with a tomato-based sauce or lemon wedges.

7. Sand Crab & Tomato Omelet: Wisk eggs with cream and season, then cook on a hot skillet with chopped tomatoes and yielded sand crab meat. The crab tomalley is added towards the end along with fresh herbs such as parsley and chives.

8. Blue Swimmer Crab Soup with Crab Mustard Dumplings: Made by simmering crab shells in water with vegetables and herbs to create a flavourful broth. The broth is strained and used as the base for the soup. The soup includes crab meat and vegetables, with small dumplings made from a combination of tomalley, flour, and egg.