Thursday, January 12, 2006

Crab pickin'

So, like I said, we bought some whole crabs today, with the aim of cooking them, picking out the meat and using them in a recipe. Check out my shopping list - crabs and calvados. Can anyone guess which menu I'm going to be making?

The last time I dealt with crabs was at my old work as a cook, when all I had to peel off the outer carapace and split them in half, ready for the buffet. I never enjoyed that (hideous) job, but preparing crabs under the tutelage of my dad was much more fun that preparing them under the gaze of insane chefs/cooks/dishwashers.

I assumed, from having read about crab preparation, that cooking and picking the meat would be an arduous task. Not true. Dad said that he did it all the time back in Malaysia and that it wouldn't be a drama at all. He was right! Go Dad!

So firstly, you gotta cook them. This means chucking them in a wok, puttin a lid on, turning up the heat, and waiting until they turn red. Thank God, even though they were fresh, they were most definitely dead. So there was no scary pincering or spooky movements in the wok.

Crabs in wok

Dad cooking crab


Then you gotta let them cool down for a bit (otherwise you'll burn yourself).

Hello Mr. Crab, meet Mr. Pestle

The first thing to do is to stick your thumb under the flippy bit on the underbelly, and peel off the shell, revealing grey fluffy bits.


Dad: See these, these are gills. You can't eat them, you have to throw them out. The Chinese use them in soup. That's why the Chinese are the best.

So you chuck the gills out, snap the crab in half, and snap each half into quarters, one leg at a time, pulling out the flesh from the body, and then cracking open the leg and pincer bits with a pestle to get at the sweet flesh beneath.

crab 3

It did cause a bit of mess, but it was fun. And Dad was hilarious, slurping up every last bit of crab meat that we couldn't get off the shells with our hands.

Dad: Man, this smells good. Screw the recipe, let's just eat the crab with chilli sauce.


I bagged up the necessary amount for my recipe, which joyfully left us with a smallish bowl of crab meat which we can eat with dinner tonight.


I've put the crab meat in the freezer (who knows when I'll get time to make the recipe, or harder still, get my ass down to Prahran Market!), ready to go.


domesticgoddess said...

score! the tart is sooo good, you'll love it. and i can imagine the caramel apples being fab (anything involving brown sugar and calvados has to be). :)

Karen said...

mmmm... that tart sounds good...but i doubt i'd ever be able to make it... any crab that comes out of its shell has a tendency to go straight into my mouth! ;)