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No need to get crabby

August 03, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

A big part of eating a crab is figuring out how to get to the meat.

Some people pull the key on the crab's underbelly before pulling off the back. On a male crab, the key resembles the Washington Monument, whereas on a female crab it looks more like the dome on the U.S. Capitol, said Ernie Schuhly, owner of Chic's Seafood at 300 Summit Ave.

Schuhly doesn't disturb the key. He uses an efficient technique used by professional crab pickers.

1. Pull the back off by grabbing one of the points on the end. Schuhly eats the fat that clings to the inside of the shell.

2. Cut the mouth off.

3. Scrape the lungs off both sides. Discard the intestines, etc. (The dark portion in the front center.)

4. Break the claws off. If the knuckle doesn't come off with the claw, pull it off.

5. Cut the legs off, behind the knuckles. The meat inside can be eaten by snapping and pulling apart each leg.

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6. Cut the crab in half, separating the top from the bottom.

7. Using a knife, pick the meat out of the membranes in the top and bottom. Some people squeeze the meat out of the two smaller pieces that make up the top half of the crab, Schuhly said.

8. To crack the claws, place the knife's edge on the middle of the claw and just hit the back of the knife a bit. It does not take a lot of force. Then do the same to the other side of the claw.

9. Finish cracking the claw with your hands and ease the meat out.

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