End of March brings 2 new producers to the Two Hands marketplace, each with a delectable crustacean offering to tempt your diners: Mud Crab and Eastern Rock Lobster.
The Eastern Rock Lobster has a distinctive sweet rich flavour, low oiliness and moist, medium-firm flesh which holds together well during most cooking methods. It is typically trap-caught, with a low level of bycatch and damage to habitats.
Mitch Saunders, our wild catch fisher, was born, raised and still is based in Terrigal, NSW. “Fishing is what I wanted to do as a kid. Once I went trapping with an older friend and I got hooked”, he says. He officially started working in the industry at 22, and now has 2 full-time deckhands. Mitch explains how he and his team always move with the animals they’re targeting, and don’t stay in the same place for too long to avoid overfishing, ensuring healthy stocks in the future. His typical day starts before dawn and ends around 3 pm, packing the product. Working on the sea, he says “is a beautiful office”.
Our other new crustacean is Mud Crab, offering a highly moist meat compared to other crab species, mainly found in the body and claws, with a deliciously distinct, sweet flavour. It is also typically firmer and fleshier than other crabs, making it distinct and versatile for many uses.
After many years working in the fish market, then moving to Cairns to start up his own fishing operation, Paul Clark is an expert in identifying and sourcing the highest quality mud crabs. Operating in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Paul says “Throwing a trap out to catch a crab is a form of art. You can only catch them where they are, and they’re only going to be there to breed or find food.” says Paul. The environment Paul works in is not always easy. A few times he has been bitten by a crab, however, the scariest is when he sees 4-5 meters long crocodiles, common in the area.
Fortunately for you, all you need to do is order via the marketplace to work some dinner table magic with either of these beautiful crustaceans….