We will concentrate on the salt-water versions, which usually have two large pincer claws, many people consider the meat inside more succulent than Lobster. You should buy them live to make certain that they are fresh, they will keep for a day in a domestic fridge if covered in a damp cloth or paper. But keep them enclosed since they can easily escape when you open the door, and their pincers can give a nasty bite.
The flesh of the Crabs is rich in trace elements essential for a healthy body such as B vitamins and iron, zinc and selenium.
Tip 1. Plain and simple cooking of Crab
This is plain and simple but will give you more than thirty minutes great eating value. You need a reasonable sized Crab, around 1 kg plus, preferably male, since they have larger pincers and more white meat. Have a large pot of boiling salted water to hand, and plunge the Crab into the water. Pop on the lid and simmer for 20 minutes for a 1 kilo Crab and an extra 10 minutes per kilo afterwards. Remove and allow to cool slightly so that you can prepare the Crab for serving.
Insert your fingers or a sharp blade to a point in between the eyes and open up the bottom shell. Remove the lungs, they look like white pieces of the vegetable Okra. They are just not digestible by our own bodies and will pass harmlessly through our system. Then remove the small stomach pouch.
Your meal is ready, with the brown internal soft Crab meat and the white meat in the shells. Be warned though that the pincer shells are going to need some cracking, so have a small mallet and board at hand.
Tip 2. Serving Crab with the traditional touch
This option ‘Dressed Crab’ is one of the most traditional ways of serving a Crab. Cook and clean the crab as above. Remove the brown meat from the shell and the white meat from the claws. Take the shell, and with a small pair of pliers gradually remove the side pieces of shell so that you end up with an open oval bowl shape to place the flesh.
At both ends place equal amounts of brown meat, then place the white meat carefully in the middle. The more time and care you take the more attractive the result. Have a boiled egg at hand, separate the cooked white from the yoke and finely chop both. Sprinkle the mixture to separate the brown and white meat. Possibly sprinkle the egg with chopped parsley. Serve with a salad and bread.
Tip 3. Serving Crab with a spicy little difference
For this dish you will need the cooked Crab claws, and as many as you can afford. They need to have the bottom part of the shell removed so that they will be easy to eat and will be coated in the spicy sauce. You will need sesame oil for flavour, very finely chopped chillies, with or without the seeds dependent upon your tolerance level, chopped garlic, chopped lemon grass, Thai fish sauce and a slug of rice wine. Gently soften all the ingredients then add the Crab claws to coat with the sauce.
Finger licking good, and will beat everything coming out of the ‘chicken takeaway’ any day.