The Best Way to Clean a Crab
Love crab but find it a bit of a mess to eat? The team at ChefSteps weighs in on the best way to clean your crab for minimal mess while eating.
At ChefSteps, we're huge fans of fresh crab. For us -- and so many Americans -- eating crab is a summer-dining ritual on par with grilled salmon, blueberry cobbler, and corn on the cob. And while we may live on the opposite coast from New England, we still like to round up the crew and head to the beach for a Pacific Northwest take on a clambake. Not into clambakes? There are tons of amazing ways to work crab into your warm-weather recipe repertoire. Dip legs in clarified butter or classic cocktail sauce, mix with mayo and herbs and nestle into a buttered roll, use as a topping for a seasonal green salad, mix into crabcakes, and accompany with Martha's old-fashioned remoulade sauce, layer under poached eggs and Hollandaise for a lightened-up take on a classic Benedict, or try Emeril's recipe for Deviled Eggs with Crab.
Here in Seattle, we usually feast on Dungeness crab -- that sweet, meaty crustacean native to this region of the world. But whether you have access to Blue, Stone, Alaskan Snow ... we think they all taste delicious.
However, the first step to a successful, delicious crab dish is knowing how to clean those crustaceans.
1. Blanch in boiling water for 60 seconds, then chill quickly. There's no way around it: If you're using live crab, you'll need to kill it before cleaning. You can use any method you like to do this, but a quick 60-second blanch in boiling water seems to do the trick. Dunk the crab in ice water to stop cooking.
2. Pry off the shell and remove anything that's not meat. To do this, you'll want to start pulling from the back of the crab first. Remove the gills and scoop out the guts inside the body of the crab. A good rule of thumb is to remove anything that's not pure white (the white stuff is meat, and oh boy, is it delicious).
3. Rinse, and pry off the abdomen. We rinse our crab in a bowl of ice water, but you can use a running faucet, too.
4. Cut your crab into quarters by splitting down the middle, from head to tail, then cutting each side into halves. Leave the front half with the pincher (if still attached; they sometimes fall off during cleaning), and the back half with the last two or three legs.
5. Keep cold until needed.
Want to see it in action? Watch the video below!