CRABS, the seaside snippers, one of Scotland's most loved shellfish and adored all over the world for its succulent white meat and flavoursome brown innards.
Brown crabs are characteristically known for their robust reddish brown shell with a "pie crust" edge and usually black tipped claws.
I love the Oban-landed common brown crab.
These hardy shellfish are fantastic. Placed in a pot of boiling water they take only minutes to reach the perfect point in which you can prize open the shell and have an instant meal.
The best way to deal with crab preparation is to work in sections. Start with the body or 'carapace' then remove the legs and claws - a simple twist will do this. Prise the lower part of the body away, exposing the "dead-man's fingers," the feather like gills. These need to be removed and discarded. Now you can remove all the delicious brown meat from inside the shell and set aside.
With the back of a heavy knife carefully crack the claws, ensuring you don't have pieces of shell pinging everywhere, or getting mixed in with your lovely white meat. Pick all of the white meat out, using a crab pick if needed, and do the same with the legs.
For the next recipe you will only need the white meat, so you can store the brown meat away in the freezer and use for a bisque with the crab shells at a later date.
Grab the ingredients below and make some lovely crab cakes.
Crab meat filling
450g fresh white crabmeat
40g fine breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
50ml clarified butter
1 Small shallot, diced
1 red redish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix crab meat, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, egg and Dijon mustard together in a bowl, add chopped tarragon and lemon, and taste to check heat, sweetness and acidity. Adjust suitably, fold through the finely diced shallot and the clarified butter will give the crab a glossy appearance. Finally check the seasoning and there you have a lovely crab "salad" to just garnish with thinly sliced radish.
This mix works wonderfully with lots of things, baked potatoes, tarts, salads etc. Enjoy.
This blog appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 02 May 12
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