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How to Prepare and Dress Fresh Crab.

compare the difference between a cock and hen crab.

compare the difference between a cock and hen crab.

Choosing Which Crabs To Use.

Fresh boiled crab to me is one of the great food treats, it has the finest, most sophisticated tastes of all shellfish. the crabs caught around the British coastline are not the biggest in the world but they certainly can hold their own when it comes to flavour.

To get the best combination of meat both white and brown meat, it is always best to buy both a cock and a hen crab. There are two main differences between the sexes, the cock crab has much larger claws, and when you turn the crabs over and compare their undersides there is an obvious difference, to the shape of their abdomen.


  • one Cock Crab, boiled
  • one Hen Crab, boiled

Delicious Fresh Crab

The first thing to do is pull off the legs and claws, it is a good idea to have several bowls to put all the little bits in.

Dress Your Crab

Lift the abdomen flap and pull it away, this can then be discarded. Do the same with the mouth shell. With your thumbs pushed up firmly on the back of the abdomen, you will feel it crack quite easily and the central part of the body can then be removed.

lift the abdomin flap

lift the abdomin flap

push hard with your thumbs and the body will pop out.

push hard with your thumbs and the body will pop out.

The first thing to remove from the inside, is what is known as the dead man's fingers, these are part of the gills that the crabs use to breath with. Discard these, as they are the only part of the crab that cannot be eaten.

You can see them at the top of the picture below.

inside the shell

inside the shell

cassia bark

cassia bark

Tea Time

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As usual my Italian friend Fabio is here getting under the feet. I've just converted him to that very British of traditions tea drinking. Now I've never taken tea with milk I have always taken it with lemon, or just on its own, sometimes however I do take it with a little piece of cassia bark in the teapot. It really gives tea quite a splendid, different taste. I've even taught him to warm the pot before putting in the tea.

Beautiful, Delicious Dressed Crab

You can clear the meat out of either the claws and legs first, or out of the main body. It is a little bit fiddly but you must be careful to make sure that any small pieces of shell are removed.

The brown meat from the body can be kept separately or it can be mixed with the white meat from the claws and legs. I like to add a pinch of salt a pinch of white pepper and a few drops of mayonnaise mix these into the meat and then place the meat mix back into the shell.

garnish with cucumber and a sprig of parsley, splash a little lemon juice over the top, you're dressed crab is complete.

your finished dressed crab.

your finished dressed crab.

crab salad

crab salad

Other Ideas for Crab

Crab salad.

Mix the crabmeat with a little lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt, a sprinkle of white pepper, add two tablespoons of breadcrumbs, and one tablespoon of tartar sauce, and two tablespoons of mayonnaise. Mix them all together, leave the mix nice and chunky, add your favourite herb tastes.

Serve on a bed of salad leaves, with sliced onion, cucumber, grapes and fennel. Don't forget to make your own bread to serve with this dish to make a complete meal.

The meat of course is fantastic just on its own, but there are also lots of recipes using crab meat.


Fried Crab Patties in Breadcrumbs.

Fried crab patties in breadcrumbs .

Boil six medium potatoes, add a pinch of salt to the water.

When the potatoes are cooked add a good knob of butter and mash your potatoes either With a spoon, are in your blender.

Banks some parsley leaves, and blend them with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and a dessert spoon of coriander powder.

Add the leaves to the potatoes and blend them together. You can now add in your crab meat mixing it to smooth paste.

Whisk an egg in a bowl, and in a second bowl place some breadcrumbs. Don't forget it's very easy to make your own breadcrumbs rather than buying shop made ones.

Take some of your potato mix and with your hands form it into a small ball, flatten the ball out a little bit, and then dunk it into the egg mix, and then roll it about in your breadcrumbs. You can then put this back into the egg mix and again back into the breadcrumbs. This will give you a really good solid crunchy yummy coating.

Add a little oil to your frying pan and gently cook your crab cake until it is golden Brown and cooked all the way through. Serve on a bed of salad, with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and fresh bread.

I would serve a new world Chardonnay with this, because they have a light, lemony taste that goes so very well with fish.

Don't throw away the shells, as you can make a very tasty dish from them, which is called bisque.

real anytime soup

real anytime soup

Crab Bisque

Crab Bisque.

Bisque originated in France and is a smooth well seasoned dish that can be made from any shellfish but it is particularly nice when crab is used.

First of all you need to make a stock, place the crab shells into a strong plastic bag and give them a good whacking with your tenderising hammer. The more you break them down the better, many chefs grind the shells at this stage.

You need a carrot, the stock of celery, an onion, three cloves of garlic. These are all going in a stock pot along with your crab shells. You can use any herbs or spices in your stock; I suggest a few sprigs of parsley, a bay leaf, and 2 teaspoons of sea salt.

Once you have all your ingredients in the pot, add enough water to cover the shelves and then put it on a medium heat on the hob, keep your eye on it as you do not want it to boil. When the first bubbles start to form turn the heat down slightly, if the scum forms on the top of the mix spoon it off and discard. Cook like this for about an hour making sure that you remove the scum regularly. Once the bubbles have stopped you can add half cup of white wine.

This stock can now be sieved into a bowl I like to sieve it again or even a third time. This stock will freeze if you have some over from the soup.

The soup.

You need to cups of crab meat, and to cups of your crab stock.

Chop three shallots, melt two tablespoons of butter, put the butter in a large pan melt it and then add the shallots. Cook until they are translucent.

Add 1 cup of white wine; again I would use a Chardonnay for this dish. Add about a quarter cup of white rice, to close of garlic finely chopped, the crab meat and the crab stock. If you have some Chinese style fish sauce, or fish paste you can add a little at this stage.

Cook for about 30 min, it needs to be blending into smooth purée. Pour it back into the pan and cook for a further 20 min. Turn the heat right down and blend in a cup of double cream steering it thoroughly.

Serve and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

As usual my Italian friend Fabio is here getting under the feet. I've just convert him to that very British of traditions tea drinking. Now I've never taken tea with milk have always taken it with lemon, or just on its own, sometimes however I did take it with a little piece of cassia bark in the teapot. It really gives tea quite a splendid, different taste. I've even taught him to warm the pot before putting in the tea.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

35 min

1 hour 5 min



It's a hard way to make a living.

Is there a finer fruit?

Is there a finer fruit?

The Drinks Cabinet

I think the fish and other light meals, you need a wine that is a little racy, fruity and fragrant.

I enjoy a glass of bubbly now and again, with this crab we had a bubbly rose wine. Absolutely delicious, and fun to drink, just right for a light salad.

Certain grapes from where ever they are from will give you a light and easy to drink wine again you need something delicate, fruity, and with enough acid to cut through. I suggest trying a Riesling from the Moselle area of Germany or from the new world.


Tony Mead (author) from Yorkshire on May 08, 2012:

Derdriu, many thanks for your useful comments, and votes. Not sure about the buttons, since they introduced these new design hubs all sorts seem to be different. There is no hub score visible at the top any more. Do you like crab? I really enjoy it, and all I need do is ring my local fish man and he can have me either North Sea, or Cornish crabs within 48 hours.

Healthy too!

regards Tony

Derdriu on May 07, 2012:

Tony, What appetizing, delectable, tasty recipes with which you regale us, your readers! In particular, I like the clear descriptions and original photos regarding dismembering crab body parts as well as the tips regarding home-made breadcrumbs for fried crab patties and shells for crab bisque. Additionally, I appreciate the Chardonnay and Riesling recommendations as well as the serving suggestions since it's always helpful regarding the wider context of an entire meal.

Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu

P.S. You have my votes in all categories, but where's the vote up button?

Tony Mead (author) from Yorkshire on May 06, 2012:


Hi kash, hope you enjoy the Bisque, it's a very tasty soup. Let me know how you get on with it.

thanks for the votes, and comment.

Have a good bank holiday Monday.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on May 05, 2012:

Hi Tony my friend,You have another wonderful recipe articles that you explain so well. I loved all the recipes but i going to try the Crab Bisque that one sounds real good. Hope you are enjoying a awesome weekend,take care and be well !

Vote up and more !!!

Tony Mead (author) from Yorkshire on May 05, 2012:

TomBlalock, you can certainly gain a lot of pleasure from preparing and making your own food. I've tried to make my instructions as easy to follow as possible, so have a go.

many thanks for visit.

TomBlalock from Hickory, NC on May 05, 2012:

Excellent article. I love the DIY food sort of things. I've recently learned how to clean and dress wild caught fish, myself, and plan to learn how to clean and dress other forms of game. I'm not a big hunter, personally, but I take pride in knowing how to do things from the very basics, without having to rely on the conveniences of modern technology we are so used to.

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