Guernsey’s waters are home to some of the finest seafood in the UK. Stroll along any coastal path and you’ll likely spot brightly coloured buoys bobbing in the sea, anchoring crab and lobster pots in place. If you’re visiting Guernsey, you’ll find some of the freshest, most delicious local crab at The Old Government House’s Brasserie Restaurant. or the Duke of Richmond Hotel’s Leopard Bar and Restaurant.
Inspired by both French and English cuisine, you’ll find Guernsey crab prepared in myriad ways, with many local dishes surprisingly simple to recreate at home. In fact, cooking crustaceans is easier than you might think. Take a look at our essential guide on how to cook crab, and you’ll be whipping up a delicious seafood dinner in no time.
How to cook crab
The brown crab is most commonly found in British seas, with crab season spanning from April until November. Buy as locally as possible from a fishmonger or fish market – this is not just to ensure freshness but the meat density of the crab. The longer it’s been out of the sea, the hungrier it’ll be, and thus, its body mass will have reduced.
It is best to purchase live crab. When selecting your critter, opt for the one that’s the most active and wriggling, avoiding sleepier docile ones. Make sure they’re nice and heavy too, otherwise you may be buying mostly shell.
Before cooking, place your crab in the freezer for two hours to send it to sleep.
1) Using the largest saucepan you have, bring water to the boil with a generous sprinkling of salt
2) Drop in the crab, ensuring it’s completely submerged and cook on a good simmer. For crabs weighing up to 1.5lb it will take 15 minutes, and for crabs of up to 2lb it will take 20 minutes
3) Once the time is up, tip the entire contents into a clean sink, rinsing the crab with clean water before setting it aside to cool
4) Carefully twist off the crab claws and legs and put them aside
5) Now you need to remove the middle part of the crab body. Push down on it using the palm of your hand and grip the gap where the body meets the shell and pull upwards
6) Pull hard to separate the body from the shell completely
7) Remove the stomach sac near the crab’s mouth and pull off the gills along the edges of the main body
8) Scoop out the crab flesh with a spoon and place into a bowl. Using a skewer, pick out the remaining meat from the crevices
9) Finally, crack open the claws and legs with a hammer or rolling pin, taking care as you go, and pick out all the flesh using the skewer
You can now use your cooked crab meat to create a variety of dishes. As Guernsey’s cuisine is both French and English inspired, you could create a Parisian-style crab salad with lentils, carrot and celery, or traditional English crab cakes with fresh parsley, tarragon and mustard.