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Crab Crostini

Picking Local Crab


Fresh local crabs are a regular sight at the Olive Tree Cookery School, whether for a ‘Seafood’ cookery course or as part of a delicious dinner menu. Nothing beats the freshest of crabs, straight from the sea, in the pot and then on the table ready for picking!


Find a pan plenty big enough for your crab. Three quarter fill with water and place on a high heat until it starts to boil. Put the live crab upside down in the water and allow to boil for 8-10 minutes. Remove the crab from the water and leave to cool down. There are different ways to despatch of a crab, but this is my preferred method, as it is almost instantaneous (other methods include drowning them in a bucket of water or putting in the freezer until frozen to death). Once the crab is cool to the touch, you can start to pick it:


Step 1:

Start by removing the claws. Using a nutcracker or meat hammer, crack the claw and using a crab picker you can start to remove the meat. Inside the claw is a large piece of cartilage, remove it. With your hands try to remove the other parts from the claw and scoop out the meat.


Step 2:

Simply pull the legs off. Using a nutcracker, gently crush them to open and remove the meat.


Step 3:

Open the body (see photo). Scoop out the brown meat. With the handle of your cracker remove the base of the leg and check to see if there is any meat inside.


Step 4:

At this point detach any loose parts attached to the body such as the tail, mouth and gills commonly called the ‘Dead man’s Fingers’ and discard.


Step 5:

Very gently scoop out the white meat from the cavity avoiding brittle bits of the carcass.


Once you are satisfied that you have removed all the meat you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze it. You can use the shell to make a good stock for a fish risotto or similar.




Crab Crostini

Makes approximately 20 crostini


1 small baguette

100g white crab meat

50g brown crabmeat

80g cherry tomatoes, washed

10 basil leaves

1 avocado, not too ripe

extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon

1 clove of garlic


Slice the cherry tomatoes into quarters and pop in a bowl. Cut the avocado by half lengthways and remove the stone. With a small knife, criss-cross each half of the avocado whilst still in it’s skin. Using a spoon scoop out the ready cut dice. Squeeze some lemon juice over the avocado and season with salt and pepper (this should help prevent oxidisation – discolouring). Shred the basil leaves and add to the chopped tomatoes, season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add a good tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and stir.


Slice the baguette and drizzle with olive oil. Place under a pre-heated grill and toast on one side only until golden brown (this happens quite quickly, be careful not to leave your crostini unattended!). Place the toasted crostini on a serving dish and rub the top with the raw garlic. Using a knife, spread a little of the brown meat on your crostini before topping them with all of the other ingredients – the white crab meat, diced avocado, dressed tomatoes. Serve straight away. This recipe is even more delicious with some locally picked samphire, when in season. Buon appetito