16th December 2013

Swimming crabs

By MaitreMarcel

We regularly visit the coast at Dieppe and check out the market stalls where fish is sold almost immediately after the ships have landed their cargo. One of the market stalls had a crate full of live swimming crabs and I bought a kilo for several euros.
In Dieppe, there is a lot of sole, plaice and halibut. Not the small fish that you find on most Paris markets but fish of three kilo’s or more for a family or a small restaurant. While the price was about five euros per kilo cheaper in Dieppe than in Paris, a three kilo halibut was still 36 euros. Too much fish and too much money.

Another ¬†specialty is scallops. I looked for some herring as Dieppe hosted a herring weekend a few weeks back, but I did not see any. Perhaps they had all been eaten…

The French swimming crab, étrilles, is smaller than the blue swimming crab used in Asian cuisine. As it was the first time that I prepared any, I kept it rather straightforward and cooked the crabs for five minutes in plenty of boiling water (no salt) then emptied the pan through a colander, let some cold water run over the crabs to stop the cooking while keeping the crabs warm and I served them straight away.
The crabs we did not eat that day I kept behind for a soup with garlic, shallot, chillies, tomato puree and parsley. But that is another story and recipe.