Wednesday, 27th May 2020
Food & Drink Article

This Month's Magazine

Crab Meat

I often see people queuing up at the fish counter to buy shrimps & prawns but it seems that crabs are not as popular, yet they are of the same family as shrimps and lobsters. They have evolved so that they can walk or run sideways and their body is wel

by Sebastián Polinares

Crab meat may be high in cholesterol and sodium but the advantages are far greater. Firstly, it tastes delicious and secondly, this food is low in Saturated Fat. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, is rich in vitamin E, Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus. And a very good source of Protein, Vitamin B12, Zinc, Copper and Selenium.

In Louisiana, crabs (blue crab) are so popular on everyone's table that "recreational crabbing" represents a substantial percentage of the total harvest.

Being so near to the sea in Andalucia, we have the advantage of knowing and even seeing that crabs sold at the fishmongers are really fresh. Although there are some 5,000 different species, we normally see two types on sale, the larger 'spider crab' with its long legs and the more conventional 'centauro' that we are more familiar with.

So why is it that crabs are not as popular as they should be? Partly it may be due to the fact that they are often classified as unpleasant and bellicose animals. The word "crab" has been considered synonymous with a nasty disposition, so much so that the most deadly disease was unjustly named after it in Latin. 

The ideal is to buy fresh, live crab and cook it yourself. Personally, I am squeamish and I could no more drop a live crab into boiling water than I could stab it through the head, so I am quite happy to pick one from the ready boiled range, even if it is frozen.  (A word of caution, it is unwise to use a frozen uncooked crab. Also it is not recommended to cook a crab and put it back in the original container). 

A good crab, full of meat, should feel heavy for its size. I bought one not long ago that weighed just over 1 lb (450 g) and it yielded almost 7 oz (200 g) of meat.


How to eat crab
You'll need a chopping board, a small sharp knife, a teaspoon, a metal skewer, and either a small hammer or a pair of nutcrackers.

1. Grab the claw and pull down, then out. 4. The lungs go next. Again using your thumb, drag your thumb along the lung part nearest the legs (where they are  ttached) to scrape away the lungs on both sides. If you have guests, you might want to do this for them in the kitchen and serve the meat inside the hard, back shell after washing it and smearing it with a bit of olive oil.
Place the crab meat down the centre of the shell, and place the white meat on either side. Finally decorate the crab with finely chopped parsley and serve with a fresh crisp salad and some home-made mayonnaise.

2. Grab the legs as a cluster and grab the end of the top shell and pull apart. 5. Now you want to remove the "apron". That's the part of the crab that determines if it's male or female. Here I take the point of a leg and slip it under the apron tip to lift it. Once lifted just break it away. This is the "bottom" of the crab, remember that. 
If there are remaining "guts" in the middle simply swoop them

3. Using your thumb, grab the entire mouth section and pull it down and away. This is the "top" of the crab, remember that. 6. The rest is just common sense. Just crack the protecting shell and scrape the white meat.

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