How to pick / picking a crab in five minutes
Here in the beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey where I am lucky enough to live, there is an abundance of fresh locally caught seafood available in the local restaurants and hotels. Many of the local bars hold fish and meat draws at the weekends, where customers can buy raffle tickets and win freshly cooked local crabs and lobsters, or joints of meat. The odds are always very high that you will walk out with a prize or two, and I frequently go home with large joints of beef or gammon, and take any fresh crabs or lobsters I have won over to my parent's house.
Now to watch my Mother pick a crab is hilarious, and usually involves a shower of crab shell flying all over the kitchen in various directions, as she apparently does her best to kill it a second time by walloping it repeatedly with a steak tenderiser or a rolling pin. The next half an hour to an hour are spent removing all the tiny pieces of broken crab shell from within the crabmeat that isn't splattered all over the walls.
In recent weeks she had adapted this technique to try to reduce the mess, and now she places a large proportion of the crab in a sandwich bag and wallops it within the bag instead, later spending the half an hour plus removing the bits of shell from the mullered meat. This is still very time consuming and results in a fair few crunchy bits remaining in the meat, which is definitely not nice.
With this in mind you can imagine my delight when having a conversation with Joao Freitas, the landlord / chef of our local bar restaurant "The Victoriana Bar" within the Atlantique Hotel here in Guernsey, he announced that he can pick a crab in about four to five minutes. I was stunned as I had been told by other locals that this simply couldn't be done in anything less than eight to fifteen minutes, (and in my Mum's case, considerably longer). In fact Joao's statement caused some quite heated debate in the bar, as various people claimed this was impossible, and virtually accused Joao of lying.
I had no reason to doubt Joao's word as he had always been honest with us in the past, but wanted to provide proof to the doubters that he was capable of achieving this, and what better way to do this than to film him in action from start to finish, knowing that there is a timer on a camcorder and that there could be no further room for debate.
The following week I bought our usual raffle tickets for the fish and meat draw, and true to form I managed to have at least one winning ticket, and of course I chose a crab so that Joao would have something to "pick" on camera. Joao kept the crab in his fridge overnight, and on the Sunday afternoon my Sister and I went down to the Victoriana Bar armed with my camcorder and duly filmed Joao picking the crab stage by stage, ultimately the crab was picked in virtually five minutes to the second.
I then uploaded the footage to You Tube so that I could share this technique with anyone else looking for the most efficient and speedy method of picking a crab, (and with little or no mess).
Before you begin you will need:
1 Cooked Crab
1 large kitchen knife
1 crab picking tool with a spoon shaped end and a fork shaped end
1 bowl (for the empty shells)
1 dish (for the picked crabmeat)
1 Chopping Board