How To Cook
One of the reasons people don't eat Crab - is that they don't know what to do with it! But it's actually not as scary as it looks - and to help you Mitch Tonks has put together a step by step guide on how to cook and pick the Crab so that you get the most out of this delicious seafood.
How to Prepare
Getting the meat of a crab isn't as scary or as difficult as it looks. Follow our step by step guide from Mitch Tonks:
1. Either have your crab cooked to order by your fishmonger or cook it yourself. Live crab can be stored for up to 2 days before cooking, as long as they are kept chilled and damp. Ideally in the bottom of a fridge with a wet cloth placed over them. There are various methods for dispatching of the crab prior to cooking. It's not advisable to place the live crab straight into boiling water as this can cause the animal stress and it sheds its limbs. Instead:
- Pithing- which is the insertion of a sharp knife through the mouth of the crab, drawing it upwards into the area behind the eyes and twisting firmly. Allow the crab to drain for approx 10 minutes before cooking.
- Alternatively- chilling; where the live crustacean is placed in a freezer until such time that no voluntary movement can be detected (rather than freezing solid).
2. For a 2kg crab, bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a good handful of rock salt and then boil the crab for 15-18 minutes, then drain, stand the crab on its nose to cool.
3. Straighten the 8 legs. Remove the claws and legs by twisting them downwards towards the tail as close to the body joints at possible. Set aside.
4. With the top of the crab towards your body, sit the crab on its edge with its mouth downwards on the board. Separate the purse section from the body of the crab by knocking the crab firmly on the board whilst at the same time using the thumbs to roll the centre piece upwards and away from the shell. This can feel awkward but a bit of brute force usually does the trick.
5. Nothing in the crab is harmful but you will see the feathery 'dead man's fingers' sticking up at the edge of the body, they are harmless but give them a tug and discard them. Prepare the purse by removing the tail piece, (simply snap away) and also the mouth piece and the small stomach sac just behind the mouth at the front of the purse. Scrape the soft gills off the edge of the purse and discard all of these pieces. The purse can now be picked for meat. Cut into sections and use a skewer if preferred. This is a real labour of love-there's lots of meat in the small crevices and the time taken will be well worth the effort!
6. Crack the claws and the legs with a hammer or rolling pin to remove the shell and access the sweet white meat. Remove all the white meat and flake into a bowl. Remove any pieces of cartilage inside of each claw, pick off the meat and discard the cartilage.
7. Use a teaspoon to scoop the brown meat out from within the crab shell. This is a fantastic flavoursome meat which is absolutely delicious combined with the white meat or used on its own.
8. Enjoy picking the whole thing and serve with a nice bowl of home-made mayonnaise.