Seasons and specimens
Crabs are generally in season from April to November. There are many varieties of crabs, most commonly eaten in the UK is the common brown crab. Ours are from the South coast and we think are best enjoyed simply with brown bread and butter.
We’re also serving softshell crab from Asia, which is caught in the period when it has just emerged from its old shell and its new shell has not yet gone hard. This means we don’t have to shell the crab, it can be eaten in its entirety and is delicious. Softshell crab is most popular in the US – New England, and in Japan where it is used in sushi.
King crabs from Norwegian waters are used in our starter dish. They have the most incredible delicate flavour.
Where & how to buy
Choose crabs that feel heavy and don’t have liquid sloshing around inside them. If you like white meat buy a cock or male crab; you get more brown milk from the hens. When buying from a fishmonger it is crucial to buy the crab while it is still alive so that you can guarantee its freshness.
We buy most of our crabs through a commercial supplier, Ritter Courivaud and are always happy to source crabs for customers by special request, we just need at least 1 week’s notice and would need to agree a specific pick up day.
How to cook
As they’re such magnificent beasts, we want to ensure that our crabs are killed as humanely as possible. Place them in a freezer before cooking for at least 2 hours so they become comatose before cooking. However, the method is only humane if done quickly in a large freezer at a temperature of -18 C. Remove the crab from the freezer and plunge into a pan of salted boiling water, bring it back to the boil and cook it for 10 minutes per kilo, cool rapidly to stop cooking.
Allow the crab to cool then crack and pick all the meat from the body and legs. Go through the crab meat at least twice to remove any shell.