Prepare and dress crab

Patrick Williams demonstrates how to remove the meat from a cooked crab and dress it for dinner.

How to prepare and dress a crab

The common European crab has 2 different meats: the firmer white meat, and the brown meat which is softer and has a more intense flavour. Keep these two meats separate until dressing the crab. Note the Dungeness crab has no brown meat.

  1. Sit the cooked crab on its back and twist the legs to pull them free from the body.

  2. Break the legs at the joints with a heavy knife and use a lobster pick to pull out the white meat in one piece.

  3. Break the claws from the body, and crack them with the blunt side of a heavy knife or a rolling pin. Extract all of the meat, checking carefully for bits of membrane and shell.

  4. Twist off the tail flap from the underside of the body and discard. Crack the underside of the shell and prise it away from the top.

  5. Pull off and discard the dead man's fingers from the sides of the central body section. Also discard the intestines.

  6. Cut the central body section into several large pieces and dig out any white meat with a lobster pick.

  7. Scoop out any white meat from the shell with a teaspoon. Then scoop out the softer brown meat and any roe. Discard the head sac.

For a dressed crab, Patrick mixes the white meat with a little mayonnaise and lime juice, and the brown meat with a splash of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. He then arranges them separately back into the cleaned shell and garnishes it with chopped hard boiled eggs.