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Cooking Spanner Crab | Recipes Using Crab and Crabmeat

Cooking Spanner Crabs:

Spanner crab meat is coarser in texture than other species and is known for its sweet flavour. Spanner Crabs have long, almost goblet-shaped, bright orange shells (even when uncooked) and spanner-shaped front claws, are quite distinctive. Usually found close inshore, often buried in sand, they are mainly fished off NSW and Queensland from January to October, peaking from July to October with the fishery closed for most of December. They average about 400g and are usually sold cooked, although they can occasionally be found live. Although they only yield 25% meat, they are lower priced than other Crabs and some chefs prefer their distinctive flavour.

This low- to medium-priced crab species offers many cooking alternatives and adds a delicate crab flavour to a variety of dishes. When this crab is cooked whole, its bright orange shell is very attractive served on a buffet or platter.

The suggestions for cooking spanner crabs are almost endless. Try them pan-fried with sea salt and cracked black pepper, or coat and deep fry the claws and serve with sweet chilli or plum sauce. They are good for seafood platters, with garlic or citrus juice, or for salads with avocados and bitter greens.

For Asian-style cooking, spanner crabs make excellent clear consommés or Thai-style broths, and are a good choice as an ingredient for won tons and dumplings.

They are also excellent minced and used in patties or fish cakes.

To Buy:
Available live or cooked. They are a low to medium-priced crab. Look for brightly coloured lustrous shells, free of damage with a pleasant fresh sea smell. They should feel heavy for their size.

To Store:
Use crustaceans as soon as possible after purchase. Cooked crabs should be covered and refrigerated. Live crabs should be covered with damp butchers paper and stored in a cool, dark place.

Tips & Tricks:
If you are cooking with crab you must always use an uncooked crab. (Crab meat can never be cooked twice.) The new RSPCA guidelines on how to kill live crabs state that they should be chilled in a refrigerator or freezer for a couple of hours and then killed by splitting or spiking to destroy the nerve centres. At least at your hand, you know it's died painlessly. From a culinary point of view it will taste better too.

The common boiling time (15 min) for spanner crabs is insufficient to inactivate proteolytic enzymes in the hepatopancreas which cause mushiness in the flesh. Boiling, steaming and microwave cooking conditions which did inactivate the digestive enzymes and provide acceptable shelf life were compared for effects on weight loss, sensory attributes and cadmium contents in the flesh. Steaming was a suitable alternative to boiling for spanner crabs.

Cooking Tips: For live crabs allow 10 minutes per 500g to cook. Steam or boil in salted water.

How to humanely kill a Crab for cooking:
It is recommended that all crustaceans are immersed in a salt water/ice slurry for a minimum of 20 minutes before boiling, broiling, pithing or cutting. This ensures the animal is immobilised before procedures that may cause pain are carried out.

The salt water/ice slurry is made by first filling a suitable container (such as an esky) with normal crushed ice, then adding salt water (sea water salinity). The ratio of normal ice to salt water should be 3:1, which will give the consistency of wet concrete and a temperature of –1°C. It is important that enough ice is provided to maintain the temperature of the slurry.

Crab Recipes - From Sea-Ex

Recipes using Crab - From How To Cook Fish

Recipe Pan Fried Soft-Shell Crab Recipe BBQ Shrimp w Crab Meat Stuffing Recipe Singapore Chili Crab Recipe Crab Cakes
Pan Fried Soft-Shell Crab BBQ Shrimp w Crab Meat Stuffing Singapore Chili Crab Crab Cakes


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Crab meat.

Kilojoules na
Cholesterol 58 mg
Sodium na
Total fat (oil) 0.9 g
Saturated fat 22% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 20% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 57% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 137 mg
Omega-3, DHA 90 mg
Omega-6, AA 86 mg



See Also:
Spanner Crab (Ranina Ranina) Photographs and Information
Catching Spanner Crabs Photographs, Video and Information
Cooking Spanner Crab | Recipes Using Crab and Crabmeat
Commercial Fishery for Spanner Crab (Ranina Ranina) | Buy Sell Spanner Crab


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