I was recently travelling in Norway and discovered these monsters which are delicacy in most of the world but also pose a massive threat to their local ecosystem.
The red king crab is one of the largest crabs in the world and can grow up to 1.5m across and weigh up to 10kgs. Due to their size and great taste they also attract a rather meaty price tag of about £60/kg so you would think they would be rather hard to find…?
The crabs are native to Alaska but were introduced to the seas off northern Russia in the 1960s and since then have been making their way down the west coast of Norway. The crab has no natural predators which has allowed the species to flourish and since 1995 the population has increased six fold to 12 million mainly. The problem with this ever growing population is that the crabs literally eat everything in their path and are thus ruining the ecosystem.
Current fishing quotas limit the number of crabs that are allowed to be landed but the general consensus among fishermen and researchers is that something else needs to be done with this pest before the king crab really starts to take over.
So with my new found knowledge of this tasty critter I quite happily volunteered to help the cause and lower the numbers by a few. When you first see them you really are surprised as to the size of them, with claws powerful enough to break your bones you need to watch out when you pick them up.
I have never cooked a crab before but it looked surprisingly simple. That said, I would find it difficult to describe what to do to you especially since I do not have pictures to illustrate the various steps. By the end of the preparation process you are left with the legs and claws which are the parts the shops usually only sell.
To cook the crab you boil a large pot of sea water (add salt to tap water, if you don’t have an ocean to hand!) and add the legs and claws and boil for about ten minutes, remove from the heat and allow to cool for a further five minutes otherwise the meat will be chewy.
The crab was served very simply with some bread, mayonnaise and lemon. It did take a bit of effort to break through the shell as I didn’t have any power tools to hand but the meat was definitely worth persevering for as you get very large chunks that just taste amazing, I would even rate it above lobster meat.
Since I got back I have found numerous websites that supply King Crab to the UK so have a look online for suppliers if your interested in giving it a try.