There are a number of land crab species skittering about Caribbean coastlines. Some are edible and the one we eat most here in Puerto Rico (although I am told they mostly are imported from Venezuela these days) is Cardisoma guanhumi which we call juey and — if you are English-speaking — you might call the blue land crab.
If you live in South Florida, you might call it a pest. You should actually be calling it lunch!
Salmorejo de jueyes, or stewed land crab, is a delicacy in Puerto Rico. Crabs that are caught are typically held for a few days in a chicken wire cage and fed corn or other vegetable scraps to clean the system. Here’s a link to how they prep them in St. John’s. Folks drive miles on a Sunday to inland restaurants with a good reputation for salmorejo.
My dad recently got a pint of meat already prepared and out of the shell (although the carapaces — main body shell — is important for flavor and left in) from the Plaza de Mercado de Mayagüez on a recent Puerto Rico trip and set about making by far the best salmorejo I have ever had. We sucked on the shells and licked the plates.
So without further ado: salmorejo de jueyes.
Salmorejo de jueyes
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
¼ Cup each: onion, green cooking pepper, red cooking pepper, diced fine
2 Tbs sofrito (minced sweet bonnet and cubanelle peppers, sawtoothed coriander, onion, and cilantro OR Goya from a jar)
½ cube of shrimp broth
1/3 Cup clam juice
2 Tbs Spanish-style tomato sauce
1 pint land crab (juey) with carapaces and juices
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil at high until liquid and fragrant. Add onion and peppers, stir to coat and lower heat to medium. Add sofrito and sauté until tender.
Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30 minutes until thickened. Serve with white rice and plenty of napkins, because part of the thing is sucking out the juices from the carapace and that gets messy.