Cooked Mud Crabs

HOW TO COOK MUD CRABS

We have a family tradition in our house. Every father’s day, I get a good feed of my favourite crustacean.

Every year, on father’s day weekend, we go crabbing and set our crab pots. Then return the following morning to take home our spoils and prepare an afternoon mud crab meal.

A lot of people add muddies to omelettes, curries and pasta sauces. However, I prefer the simpler things. Nothing fancy, just well-prepared mud crabs. These critters have all the flavouring you need. All that remains is to bring it out.

WASHING

I start by tying the pincers up so I can maneuver the crab without fear of having my finger taken off. Place a small elastic band across their claws, exactly like you see with lobsters in restaurant aquariums. It can be a little tricky, and you might need to get someone to help you do it effectively, but once it’s done you will have much more confidence washing and preparing your crab.

With the pincers safely out of harm’s way (your harm that is), thoroughly clean the muddies and remove any dirt stuck to their legs, claws and shell. Then place the crabs into a bucket of freezing water with plenty of ice. After 30-40 minutes in the ice bath, they should go into a deep sleep. This will ensure you are killing them in the most humane way possible.

PREPARING

I like to cook the crabs without the innards. A lot of people will boil the crab whole and crack the shell at the end, but once the crab is done cooking, I prefer to have it ready to eat.

I remove them from the ice slurry and hold them upside down. Find the back flap where the top shell joins the soft underbelly and drive a screwdriver through the crab, from the back plate to the eyes. You should be able to rotate the screwdriver and create enough space to pull the hard shell off the crab.

Then split the crab in two with your hands and remove the gills and feeder flaps that should have been exposed in the head. You should also clearly be able to see the entrails, remove these at this point so all that remains is the soft flesh.

Rinse both parts again. Now your crab is ready to boil.

COOKING

Prepare boiling water in a pot liberally flavoured with rock salt. Once the water is boiling, drop all your muddies in and wait for the water to begin bubbling again. Once it is bubbling nicely, put the lid on and leave the crab to boil for 10 minutes.

Drain the water once they are cooked, and leave the crabs to cool for 10 minutes. Your muddies are ready to eat. Crack open the claws, douse in lemon, or eat the meat as it is.

Serve them cooled on an ice platter for the best flavours. Enjoy!


 

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Madeleine Park
madel@dinga.com.au

Madeleine is a real green thumb and spends most of her time outdoors in her garden if she is not outdoors somewhere else.