Baked crab

Baked crab


Laura Edwards

I love crab, in any way, shape or form. For me, there’s nothing better than sitting with friends around a table with one of these beauties in front of you, picking all of the glorious meat out of the shell, from the claws and the legs.

For something different, pick out all of the white meat and combine with plenty of chilli, garlic parsley and olive oil and add to some spaghetti – a great quick dinner for one, and just as good served in a big bowl for everyone to dig into.

This recipe for baked crab is a little bit of work, but you can prepare it the day before, just mixing the filling the next day and adding the breadcrumbs before grilling.


Quantity Ingredient
2 live brown crabs, (about 750 g– 1 kg each)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
40g plain flour
175ml full-fat milk
100ml fresh fish or vegetable stock
small handful chopped parsley
sea salt
white pepper
3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs


  1. Put the crabs to sleep in the freezer for 15 minutes. Bring a very large pan of water to the boil and drop in the crabs. Cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the water and cool.
  2. Twist the claws and legs off the bodies and set aside for now. Put each crab on its back. Hold the edges of the shell with your fingers and then use your thumbs to push on where the leg section joins the body and lever the body out.
  3. Pull off the feathery dead man’s fingers that are sticking out from the body. Then push with your thumbs behind the eyes, to break the section off. Remove and discard.
  4. Scrape out all the brown meat from the sides of the shell and set aside. Use a heavy knife or hammer to crack open the claws so that you can remove all of the juicy meat. Make sure you break open the knuckles and legs to get every last bit.
  5. Cut the leg section of the body in half and use a skewer or lobster pick to pick out all the sweet white meat from the many compartments. Clean and tidy the shells.
  6. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and carrot for 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the flour. Cook for a minute, then gradually stir in the milk and stock until you have a thick, silky béchamel sauce. Remove from the heat.
  7. Stir all the brown and white meat and the parsley into the sauce. Season with salt and white pepper and spoon into the clean crab shells.
  8. Heat the grill to medium high. Scatter the crabs with breadcrumbs and grill for a couple of minutes until golden. Serve immediately.
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