Dressed to kill

Dressed crab

Yesterday we watched chef cook a live crab then painstakingly pick the meat from its carcass for what seemed like an eternity. Today, it’s our turn to prepare Crabe Farci à l’Anglaise.

My crab seemed a lot bigger than chef’s crab—and more alive; wiggling those creepy legs. It had that look in its eyes as it watched me approach—“touch me and I’ll kill you”, it was saying. I got my tongs out. Get into the fridge for a nap. Meanwhile I got my Court-Bouillon on the go. It’s an acidic vegetable stock. 15 minutes later I dared myself to get the crab from the bowl with my hand. Eeeee! Urghh. Straight into the boiling stock. Kthxbye.

Surprisingly picking out the meat wasn't mind numbing. It’s definitely a meticulous task and a bit of a treasure hunt but for some reason I can’t explain, I went at it with vim and vigour. Now I’ve done it once I feel I can carry on with my life. To see the claw meat pop out in one piece provided some mild excitement.

I clipped and trimmed the top shell and plopped it back into the simmering stock to clean. Who knew a crab has a hairy arse? I didn’t. Now for a good scrub and polish. It was like that scene from Predator when he’s polishing his skulls.

Time to dress this sucker. Fiddly fun. Into the shell goes chiffonade of lettuce. Spread over brown meat mixed with breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco. Tasty. Set down strips of egg yolk and white, passed separately through a drum sieve, divided by anchovy. Then the white meat with the ends covered in parsley. Sliced stuffed olives go on last. Add the claws. Place blanched tomato strips for legs. Isn’t she pretty?

I also got to try Huîtres sur Glace comprising 2 oysters—an oyster native to British shores and a Pacific rock oyster. Flavour wise—meh! What’s all the fuss about? A gloopy mass that tastes of sea water. And no hot flush of l’amour either. Aphrodisiac my hairy arse. The Moules Marinières were moderately more interesting but could have done with some garlic. I know molluscs are an acquired taste so bear with me. I’m new to all this fishy malarkey.

And so a tricky week ends on a high. I scored well with my crab. I served on time today and yesterday so my new time plans are helping my multitasking and speed. Easter then back into school on Tuesday afternoon.

Rock oysters

Oysters native to British shores

Mussels Moules Marinières