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A Feast of Fish

A Feast of Fish

By Ian McAndrew

Published 1989

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There are a great number of types of crabs available throughout the world. The edible or common crab is the one normally used in Britain and Europe, but is not found in American waters. The rock crab, blue crab and snow crab are those normally found there, and of these the blue crab is the one that enjoys the most acclaim.
Again, like all shellfish, crabs must be bought alive and a sign of a good crab is that it will feel heavy for its size. The yield of meat from a good healthy crab will be about one-third of its total weight. Normally, the larger the crab, the better the yield, and the easier it is to clean. Preparing a crab can be very time consuming and fiddley, but it is, nevertheless, a job worth doing well. In my experience, many people remove only the dark meat from the main shell and the white meat from the claws. This is sinful! The white meat found in the smaller legs and the body carapace is quite delicious, far sweeter than the claw meat, although it is more difficult to remove. Cleaning a crab also frightens a lot of people off, because they are not sure what is edible and what is not. Well, it is quite easy really. The only inedible parts are the gills, or ‘dead man’s fingers’ as they are more commonly known, which are finger-shaped and very grey in colour, and the part immediately behind the head. To remove this, first remove the body from the shell, then press down on the mouth part of the shell with your thumbs until it cracks off. As you pull this away, it will bring with it the inedible parts.