Spider crabs are large, spiky crustaceans. They are harvested sustainably along UK coasts by inshore fishermen using pots or nets, which have a low impact on the seabed. Whilst spider crab is commonly exported to Spain and under-utilised here, the domestic market for these sustainable, delicious shellfish is growing.
Spider crab meat is white and, particularly in the claws, is moist and delicious – slightly sweeter than brown crab. Before cooking a spider crab, wrap it in a wet cloth or seaweed and then cool it by putting it in a freezer or by packing crushed ice around it. Once it is in a sleep state (torpor) it can be humanely killed by physically spiking it on the underside, which severs the main nervous system. Turn the crab over and allow the fluid to drain. Then, the crab can be dropped in boiling water for 8 minutes. Before picking out the flesh, remove the grey, spongy gills and the stomach sac located behind the jaws. The meat will add a fresh kick to sandwiches or pasta dishes.
Adapted from Love Seafood