Fresh local crabs are a regular sight at the Olive Tree Cookery School,
whether for a ‘Seafood’ cookery course or as part of a delicious dinner menu.
Nothing beats the freshest of crabs, straight from the sea, in the pot and then
on the table ready for picking!
Find a pan plenty big enough for your crab. Three quarter fill with
water and place on a high heat until it starts to boil. Put the live crab
upside down in the water and allow to boil for 8-10 minutes. Remove the crab
from the water and leave to cool down. There are different ways to despatch of
a crab, but this is my preferred method, as it is almost instantaneous (other
methods include drowning them in a bucket of water or putting in the freezer
until frozen to death). Once the crab is cool to the touch, you can start to
Start by removing the claws. Using a nutcracker or meat hammer, crack
the claw and using a crab picker you can start to remove the meat. Inside the
claw is a large piece of cartilage, remove it. With your hands try to remove
the other parts from the claw and scoop out the meat.
Simply pull the legs off. Using a nutcracker, gently crush them to open
and remove the meat.
Open the body (see photo). Scoop out the brown meat. With the handle of
your cracker remove the base of the leg and check to see if there is any meat
At this point detach any loose parts attached to the body such as the
tail, mouth and gills commonly called the ‘Dead man’s Fingers’ and discard.
Very gently scoop out the white meat from the cavity avoiding brittle
bits of the carcass.
Once you are satisfied that you have removed all the meat you can store
it in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze it. You can use the shell to make
a good stock for a fish risotto or similar.