Crabs look like aliens, they can look so creepy but the taste is what gets you to like them (at least for me it works that way ;)). I bought some fresh live black crabs on Sunday and wanted to cook them for a lazy day. I’ve never tried my hands with cooking black crab, but having heard that they taste better than the normal white ones, gave me all the courage to buy some (it is also said that the live ones always tend to be fresh for the obvious reasons)
How do you cook a live crab?
It is better to remove the clamps while they are alive, as they will be easier to handle and the crabs won’t end up biting you with their most important weapon (I got the clamps removed by the fisher woman). Better to get them rooted out before than to feel the pain later.
Place the crab/s (either alive or recently killed) in boiling, salted water and cover the pot. There should be enough water so that the crab is completely submerged, plus an additional 4 or 5 inches on top of that. Use about half a cup of salt per gallon of water. Cook for about 15 minutes; 10 to 12 minutes for smaller ones, up to 20 minutes for large ones. I used my hubby’s help to do the picking up of each crab and putting it in the boiling water.
Alternatively (if you are scared like me and don’t have anyone to help) you can put the crab in the freezer for half an hour beforehand so that it moves more slowly and is easier to handle when placing in the pot. Some people also feel this is a more humane method. They say the cold puts them into a dormant state and then they’re not fully conscious when they’re boiled.
How to clean or eat crab?
- To remove the back, hold the base of the crab with one hand and pull the shell away from the body with the other hand.
- Turn the crab over and pull on the triangular-shaped section and lift it away. Turn the crab again and gently scrape away the gills on either side with your thumb or a spoon. Also, throw away the intestine, which runs down the center of the back.
- Most people wash away the “crab butter” (the yellow, mushy stuff in the cavity). But, some consider these organs a delicacy and there are recipes that call for them. So, set them aside if you like.
- Twist off the legs.
- Rinse the rest of the body under cold water and break it in half.
- Crack the legs with a mallet.
- Dig out the meat with forks or picks or however you can get to it.
4 pieces medium sized crab, cleaned and cooked
2 tbs butter
2 tbs garlic, finely crushed
1 tsp whole wheat flour
1/2 cup milk
1tsp crushed black pepper
salt to taste
Heat butter in a pan and add crushed garlic. Saute them for about a minute and add wheat flour, milk, salt and allow it to boil for 2minutes. Add pepper and the crab pieces and cook them for 5 minutes in the sauce. Serve hot with some salad, fries and lemon wedges. Eating crab is a messy affair, so just dig in and enjoy. Serves 2.
Note: I cooked the dish in the afternoon but prefered to eat it for dinner (refrigerate after cooking). Allowing it to sit for couple of hours before eating can really enhance the taste. You can add more garlic if you like (remember the more you add, the better it is). If you don’t like crushed pepper, feel free to use finely powdered black pepper.