POPSUGAR Celebrity

Chef Matt Accarrino Shares How to Shell a Crab

Aug 18 2010 - 6:50am

Eating, drinking [1], and then eating more [2] weren't the only activities on the agenda at this year's SF Chefs [3] — I also expanded my food and wine knowledge. Aside from learning how to pair food and wine by sight [4], I also learned how the pros shell crabs so efficiently!

My instructor: Matt Accarrino, executive chef at San Francisco Italian restaurant SPQR [5]. At his SF Chefs demo, he prepared a crab dish — and showed the audience how to cook the crustacean and remove its exoskeleton the right way.

Chef Accarrino shelled his crab cooked. (If you don't know how to boil a crab, follow these simple steps [6].)

Begin by twisting the legs off the crab. Put the legs aside.

Open the crab's shell by pushing it open with your thumbs. Set the crab's midsection aside.

Return to the crab legs, snapping each apart at the joint.

Using small, sharp scissors — Accarrino swears by Joyce Chen sewing scissors [7] — cut the leg shells open.

Peel away the shells to reveal a perfect lump of crab meat!

Save all of your leftover crab shells for making a crab stock with tomato paste, white wine, garlic, celery, carrots, and onion.

Return to the crab midsection. Be sure to discard the crab's sand sac, or stomach; it often contains dirt and other less-than-palatable debris.

Once it's broken open, you'll see a web of meat intertwined with shells. Employ the scissors to crack hard shells here, too. Most importantly, be sure to pick over all the meat to make sure it's free of hard bits. Save the crab roe, or "crab butter," as it's sometimes called, to add to crab stock.

Have you ever shelled a crab?

I haven't, but Chef Accarrino made it look so easy that you can bet I'll be trying it in the near future.

Source URL