So enough on the education on crabs — let's get cracking!
This is a messy project, so do prepare your table with newspaper for easy clean up.
Here's how to spot a Jimmy — this apron shape identifies it as a male crab.
First we want to remove the claws and set them aside. We'll be cracking those later.
Next we want to remove the apron. I just use one of the main claws to help fold the apron back, breaking it away from the body.
Next we want to peel the top shell off; here you will see some white gills on each side of the body. Remove these and discard.
You can scrape the inside, then holding each side, just break the body in half. This is where you will find the meat channels, pictured below.
As you will notice, the channels are really where you get most of your good sweet crab meat.
I think it's about time we interrupt this post for a little taste. I like to just lay one of the discarded shells beside me and swipe the meat along the top, getting some of that wonderful crab spice.
If I am saving the meat for later, I just keep a bowl close by to collect it in. Once I have all the bodies picked, I then move onto the claws.
The shell on this part of the crab is really hard, so it is best to have a mallet to crack the shell. Note I have a personalized one, but any will do.
Once the shell is cracked, you just break it in half and gently pull the meat right on out.
Once finished clean up is a snap — just fold up that newspaper around all your shells and discard.
These dozen crabs yielded a little over a pound of crabmeat that I've got big plans for. Check back tomorrow as I show you how to create crab cakes perfect for serving as hors d'oeuvres or a first course at your next wine dinner.