Crab on Toast

Tom Norrington Davies gives a masterclass in preparing crab and shows that brown crab meat's natural creaminess makes a great pate
By Tom Norrington-Davies
Crab on Toast
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 1
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: hard


  • 1 brown crab, (approx 500g in weight)

To serve

  • slices of sourdough bread
  • unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Tips and Suggestions

to use up the white crab meat, try Tom Norrington Davies' Warm Crab, Broad Bean and Romanesque Salad


1. If you buy a raw crab it must be alive and you will have to kill it. You can do this in 1 of 2 ways. Either lay it on its back and lift up the soft part of the shell, before skewering the flesh (it will die instantly that way) or put it into a freezer for an hour or 2 (but no more) - this will make it comatose before cooking.

2. You need a large pan of very salty water (it should taste like the sea) at a rolling boil. Put the crab in and boil for 15 minutes. If it is larger than 500g add another 5 minutes for anything up to a kilo.

3. Once cooked, drain and leave to cool. Turn the crab onto its back. Pull off the legs and claws and set aside. Punch in the soft rim around the central flap and remove the shell. Now remove the grey, fibrous gills (known as dead man's fingers) - these are the only inedible bits on a crab: not poisonous just hairy!

4. Remove the white meat from the central part. Put it to one side, along with the claws. Scoop out the brown meat from the now largely hollow shell.

5. Grill the bread on both sides, spread lightly with unsalted butter and divide the crab meat luxuriously between the slices. It is almost impossible to eat too much. You can serve garnished with wedges of lemon on the side of the plate.

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