Crab masterclass

Theo Randall shows how to cook and prepare this succulent shellfish to ensure you enjoy it at its best served simply with a marjoram vinaigrette
By Theo Randall
Crab masterclass
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: hard


  • 1 x 2 kg live crab
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing

  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only

Tips and Suggestions

Alternatively, you can kill the crab by dropping it straight into boiling water.


1. First you need to kill the crab: turn it onto its back, lift up the centre flap, take a long spike and push through the middle using a meat mallet. This should destroy the central nervous system, which will kill the crab instantly.

2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the crab and cook for 20 minutes (varies depending on type of crab). The shell will turn bright red when cooked.

3. Remove the crab from the cooking water and leave to cool slightly.

4. For the dressing: bash the marjoram and salt together in a pestle and mortar until you have a green pulp, add the olive oil and lemon juice and mix to form a silky dressing, set aside.

5. Remove the claws and legs from the crab, turn the crab onto its back and push the centre body upwards, this should dislodge it from the main shell. Pick out all the brown feathery pieces and scoop the brown meat out and place in a bowl.

6. With a rolling pin and a large chopping board bash the crab claws until they break. Scoop out all the white crab meat. Be careful about the shell but don't worry too much as you can pick through the crab later. Take the legs, cut the ends off with a sharp knife and scrape out the meat with a long fork. Finally take the centre body, place it on the chopping board and split it into two, to make it easier to access all the meat and remove as much meat as you can.

7. Place all the white crab meat on the tray and use your fingertips to go through the meat to ensure there are no pieces of shell, transfer to a clean bowl. Add any brown meet to the other bowl.

8. Season the white crab meat with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of olive oil. With the brown meat bash it until every part of it is smooth, add squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

9. Divide the white crab meat between plates, place a mound of brown meat next to it and drizzle both with the dressing.

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