|The Edible Crab
- Cancer Pagarus
A firm favourite at Filey that live in
weed covered rocky sea beds and caught in crab pots from the open cobles
These crabs can grow well over 15cm wide in
deep water and is the most common crab that we eat and Edible crabs give
the best meat yield from April to November. Male crabs have larger claws
than females and provide more white muscle meat, so male crabs fetch
higher prices and a crab hatched in Norfolk may walk as far as
Scotland!. Tagging experiments have shown that some crabs move over 100
miles a year during their seabed migration.
Crabs are usually cooked by placing live
in boiling water but the crab will shed its legs and the meat is
tougher. However a more humane way of cooking them is to "drown"
them first in fresh water beforehand for thirty minutes or, it has been
recommended that they be placed in cold water and the application of
gentle heat slowly destroys the nervous system, we prefer the drowning
method but purists prefer not to do so.
Using the largest saucepan you can find,
half fill with fresh water and add plenty of salt, say half a cup to a
gallon of water ( 150g to 4 1/2 litres) and bring to a vigorous boil.
Drop the Crab in and bring back to the boil.
When the water comes back to the boil start timing. Use twenty minutes
for crabs up to 2lb and add five minutes per extra pound.
When the time is up, carefully pour the whole lot into the sink and wash
off the crab with fresh water to remove any surplus material.
Allow time to cool then follow the preparation instructions below -
click on the pictures for a better view.
underside of the crab
bottom shells parted
"cart" is split
||The finished crab
1) Carefully twist off the legs and
set aside, part the top shell from the lower body or "cart" - you may
need to use a strong knife handle to prise them apart.
2) Hold the "cart" and remove the
long greyish looking fingers (gills) ( second picture) and the small
'sac' from under the head , these are the inedible parts of the crab.
3) Spoon out the meat from the inside of
the top shell and although it looks unappetising it really is quite tasty.
4) With a strong knife handle or
rolling pin, crack open the big claws and extract the white meet.
The meat from the smaller legs can be taken out this way but this can be
5) The "cart" can be broken out by
hand (sharp bits here!) or cut in two at its thinnest part and the
white meat "picked" out of the cavities, again this is quite fiddly and
5) You can leave the meat as it is or
season the white meat with salt and a little vinegar or lemon juice,
cayenne pepper can be added and mash the brown meat with a fork removing
any pieces of skin. Season the brown meat with salt, vinegar and pepper
and breadcrumbs can be added if it is too wet.
6) Thoroughly scrub and clean out
the top shell, press out the lower side pieces by the thumbs along the
line and this will make an ideal container to present your crab meat
they do in the stalls.
7) If you don't fancy doing all
this, buy one readily prepared from one of the stalls on the Coble
Note how the stalls serve their crab meat
- they put the brown meat in one side of the shell and the white meat in
the other, then decorate with lemon slices and parsley and use two of
the legs to garnish the product.
And now an interesting dish from TV Chef
250 grams crab meat
teaspoons chopped coriander
Red Chilli finely chopped
Peel and dice the avocado and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, a small
pinch of chilli and season. Finely slice the tomato and season.
Flake the crab meat and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, a pinch of
cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon pf crème freiche and chopped coriander and
Arrange tomato slices on a plate and press some avocado into a small
cutter on top of of the tomato, top this with crab meat and garnish with
crème freiche and coriander.