Crustacea, such as crab, lobster, shrimp and the many kinds of prawn comprise a group of seafood which have limbs and also shells.
Preparing Cooked Shellfish
Although diners are often given cooked shellfish, notably crab mayonnaise, which takes practice, and left to fend for themselves, it is usual for the cook to give some preliminary help.
How to Prepare Cooked Crab
Put the crab on its back on a work surface and twist the legs and claws to separate them from the body. Holding the shell in your hands, extract the body Section from the shell by pressing firmly against the tail of the crab. Pull out and discard the stomach and the gills (the ‘dead men’s fingers’), which are found just behind the mouth. Pull out and discard the grey-white ‘beards’ on either side of the body.
Using a pointed knife and a spoon, pick out all the brown meat left in the shell and set it on one side. Pick out all the white meat from the tail and set aside separate from the brown meat, if preferred. Using nutcrackers, crack open the legs and claws and pick out all the meat, being careful to extract and discard the sharp shaft of shell in the center of the flesh in the claw.
How to Prepare Cooked Lobster
Put the lobster on its front on a chopping board, pulling the tail out to its full length so that it sits flat against the board. Using a sharp, heavy knife, slice length-ways down the center of the lobster and separate it into two halves. Pull out and discard the stomach and grey ‘beards’ from the body cavity at the head end of the lobster.
Crack the claws with nutcrackers so that the shell can be pulled easily away to reveal the delicious claw meat.
The lobster can be grilled at this stage, or the tail and claw meats can be pulled out and used in a salad.