Crab Toasts and Skate Wings with Clams

Posted By Stephen

Our plans for dinner changed quite a few times, but eventually I found myself walking out of a fishmonger with one live crab, two skate wings and a dozen or so clams. Kerri had a plan to make crab on toast as a starter, which sounded good. For main course we decided just to cook the skate wings quite plainly and serve them with the clams scattered over them and use the clam cooking liquid as a sauce.

Obviously the first thing to consider was how to kill the crab. Reading a couple of books came up with this method which sounded reasonable and quite humane: Put the crab into the freezer for a couple of hours, which renders it comatose, then skewer it through the hole under its tail flap and again through its mouth and that kills it. Then cook it. Sounded fairly simple. I felt that we needed some video confirmation of this though, so had a quick search on the web but sadly youtube is full of video clips of people fighting with live, flailing crabs, trying not to get pinched by their claws while trying to kill them. Not what I was after and not what I particularly wanted to see either.

So we stuck with what the book described, said goodbye to our crab and placed it into the freezer. Two hours later, took it out and it was thankfully unconscious and had stopped moving. A quick couple of stabs with a skewer and it was dead. Then into a pot of salted water to boil for 12 minutes before removing it and letting it cool. If we do this again we’ll definitely film it and post it online as an example of how to do it because it was quite simple.

When the crab had cooled, we removed the shell, twisted off the legs and claws and started to extract the meat. The brown meat was quite easy to get out, but the white meat was another story, as anyone who has cooked a crab or ordered one in a restaurant will know. The body has many little cavities in it, so it needs to be cut apart and the meat extracted from each cavity carefully. Kerri set about the claws and legs with a mallet, cracking them and extracting the meat from them too, which worked rather well and she got pretty much all of it out.

We mashed the brown meat with some chilli powder and some lemon juice and spread that onto the toast slices, almost like pate. Then we mixed the white meat flakes with some chilli powder and lemon juice again and some good extra virgin olive oil and piled that on top of the brown meat. Delicious! The crab was obviously very fresh as it was alive when we bought it, and much cheaper to buy whole than ready prepared – it just comes down to spending quite a lot of time preparing it.

For the skate wings, we dusted them in seasoned flour and simply fried them in a mixture of oil and butter, adding a squeeze of lemon at the end. We cooked the clams as we would have cooked mussels to make moules mariniere, then used the cooking liquid as a sauce for the skate wings. This turned out really well – we had slightly overcooked the shallots for the sauce and caramelised them a bit, but the sweetness actually worked well.

Having ordered battered skate wings in a fish and chip shop once upon a time and found them really difficult to eat, I was worried that these would present a problem too, but they didn’t – we managed to cook them just right and the flesh flaked off the “wing” bones very easily. They were cheap too. We discussed trying them again soon with a caper sauce, which should go well.

May 8th, 2010

5 Comments to 'Crab Toasts and Skate Wings with Clams'

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  1. Helen said,

    They look so good!

    What fishmonger do you use? I keep walking past the newish one on the North End Road that I think is local to both of us but have not bought anything yet.
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Elsewhere in Food Blogsphere – May =-.

  2. Stephen said,

    Helen we actually got everything for this dinner from that new fishmonger, which was the second time we have been there – the previous time we bought an octopus. It was all quite cheap, which was nice, but we were wondering about how responsibly sourced some of the fish in there is and whether we should continue going there. Might have to do some investigation.

  3. Helen said,

    Thanks Stephen,

    I think I will go down there and have a chat to them, I need to get a stash of jucing fruit from the market today.
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Elsewhere in Food Blogsphere – May =-.

  4. We cooked crab last week on my cookery course but he just went from freezer straight to pot – and there was no fuss…so you could maybe omit the stabbing…I wonder if there is better reason for this or not? xxx
    .-= The Curious Cat´s last blog ..Sunday evening =-.

  5. Mmmm, that looks like a spectacular meal. Not sure I would have had the heart to kill the crab – I anthropomorphosise far too much!! But would happily munch it on toast 😉
    .-= Jeanne @ CookSister!´s last blog ..South African waterblommetjie bredie =-.

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