Easy ways to cook crab and mussels

If you're a seafood lover, adding crab and mussels to your dinner table is an easy way to enjoy healthy eating. These favourite seafoods are both considered delicacies and are best enjoyed fresh. Here are some more tips on preparing delicious crab and mussels.

Easy ways to cook crab and mussels

Preparing crab

The meat of a crab is well guarded within its tough armoured shell, but cooking, extracting and presenting it is a satisfying culinary challenge.

You will need:

  • Large pot
  • Claw cracker or small hammer
  • Skewer or lobster pick
  • Two bowls
  • Teaspoon
  1. Cook a fresh crab in boiling water with 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) lemon juice, a bay leaf, some parsley stalks and a few black peppercorns. Allow 15 to 20 minutes for a one to 1.5 kilogram (two to three pound) crab.
  2. Let it cool.
  3. Lay the crab on its back and twist off the legs and claws. Open the claws with the cracker or hammer and remove the meat into a bowl using the skewer or lobster pick. Do the same with any other reasonably sized legs.
  4. Twist off the tail flap and discard. Then push out the flesh of the central body chamber from the upper shell with your hands.
  5. Remove and discard the gills ("dead men's fingers") from around the body. Pick up the back shell and remove the stomach sac from just below the head.
  6. Break the body into halves or quarters and prise out the white meat, discarding any small pieces of membrane.
  7. Spoon the brown meat and any coral in the shell into a separate bowl.
  8. Trim the washed empty shell, cutting around the edge to neaten.
  9. Season the meat and replace in the shell, white to the sides and brown in the middle. Serve with mayonnaise, with lemon and buttered brown bread or with a salad.

Cooking Mussels

Hidden within the hinged darkness of a mussel's shell lies a succulent morsel of orange flesh.

To store:

As soon as you get them home, put mussels into the fridge or a large bucket of cold salted water.

To prepare:

  1. Scrub with a stiff brush to remove grit, and scrape off any barnacles with a sharp knife. Rinse well.
  2. Finally scrape away the strands of the "beard" emerging from the shell, plus any seaweed.

To cook:

  1. Put in a large pan with one centimetre (1/2 inch) water or white wine, plus some chopped parsley and chopped shallots or onions.
  2. Cover and cook on high heat, shaking occasionally, for about five minutes or until the mussels open.
  3. Remove mussels with a slotted spoon.
  4. Strain the cooking liquid through a muslin-lined sieve to remove any grit, and serve.

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