Dressed crab, a little lemon, salad, new potatoes and brown bread. Coastal life on a plate.

One of the joys of living on the coast is access to seafood. We have a variety of little vans which come round weekly. We used to have a mobile library and bank, but now we just have the fresh fruit and veg; and wet fish van. You can put an order in, and the following week a bag is handed over with whatever you had forgotten you had ordered the week before. It’s fantastic.

The first time I moved up I ordered a crab. The following week, a cheery man handed me a plastic bag and demanded monies. I soon got the jist of the arrangement. Initially, I found the moving bag quite disconcerting. I had come to the comfortable way of thinking my food was pretty still by the time of purchase. To think I could do a bit of natural history research into the life of a crab before eating it, was a little ‘added value’ I could have done without.

However, when in Rome.

Cracking on with your crab.

If you have never dressed a crab before, follow this link and watch the fabulous Rick Stein show you how it’s done. He does the job in five minutes. In reality, it takes a little longer, and you’ll want to invest in a few tools. Find a beautiful, comfortable place to sit, invite a friend, open a bottle of wine or make a cup of tea. Enjoy the process. Yes, have a sly little nibble of crab meat. You’re doing the work, and the little stolen pieces are the best bits. You’ll need a small hammer. A long poky spork, which people can fight over – so maybe get two and a shellfish cracker (Although the last is not necessary.)

The only tips I’m going to give you, (because you’re going to watch the video.) is remember to remove the ‘dead man’s fingers’ (off-white spongy gills.) Then remove the stomach sac and hard membranes inside the shell. You’ll possibly be thinking ‘I don’t know what to do or what to remove!” Nevertheless, as soon as you open the crab, the bits you really don’t want to eat are the bits you take out. Then you sip whatever beverage you have chosen, chat about something pleasant and surreptitiously nibble on some of the crab meat as you dress it.

Good company on a journey makes the way seem shorter, and when dressing a crab, the journey should be enjoyed as much as the destination.

Happy Nibbles.


You’ll need an apron! – drop by our kitchen shop and see if you find one you fancy there.