What are pea crabs and why are they in my oysters?

What are pea crabs and why are they in my oysters?

If you've ever encountered a pea crab in your life, it's very likely that you saw one while eating an oyster! These little critters live in the gills of oysters, and sometimes will come out to play when your half shell is sitting on a plate. Many chefs and diners find them unappetizing or a nuisance, especially if they're scuttling across an oyster, but since little is known about them in the culinary world, they may be misunderstood. In 1907, The New York Times published an article titled "A Rare Delicacy, Little Known" and called pea crabs "one of the sweetest and quaintest viands known to man... so generally neglected that more than 50 per cent of the people who think they know something about good eating have never tasted the dish." So what are pea crabs? And what should you do the next time you see one?

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