(a delayed posting from Grenada)
An occasional series of practical recipes to cook aboard using the ingredients at hand.
An illustration of the use of fresh local ingredients
Land Crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) live in the holes found near mangrove swamps, salt ponds etc.
Land crabs need to be purged for six days prior to consumption. This is done by feeding with cornmeal or coconut, so choose your purveyor with care. Your correspondent purchased his land crabs from a roving vendor at the central market in St. George, Grenada.
PREPARATION (instructions as received, edited for clarity):
The preparation is somewhat involved. Luckily, the vendor gave instructions with the precision and intensity only available to the truly stoned.
Avoid the claws, particularly the small one. This warning was reiterated by many we met on our travels with land crabs.
Pierce the crab between the eyes and twist until the legs stick out.
- Remove and discard the toes
Twist off the end of the claws. Parenthetically, it is a sad reflection upon modern standards that this step appears to have been dispensed with by many commercial purveyors of “Crab and dumpling”.
- Remove and discard the cetæ and abdomen
- Remove the back (may be reserved for Crab Backs)
- Remove and discard gills (“beard”)
- Scrub under water to remove black material.(Note that this may upset the owner of the scrub brush.)
- The Crabs are Ready to Cook
6 Land Crabs – cleaned
1 Stick Celery
1 Bunch Chives (actually spring onions)
1 lb Grated Coconut
6 Seasoning Pepper
1 dessert spoon Colombo
1 Bunch Callaloo
Salt, pepper and seasoning to taste.
Prepare Coconut Milk
Fresh grated coconut may purchased at the local market. Steep it in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain and repeat. Discard spent coconut pulp.
Fry onion, celery, chives, seasoning pepper (not hot), and carrots until softened.
Add coconut cream, thyme, crab, and cleaned shredded callaloo.
Season with salt, pepper, colombo, hot sauce and
Simmer until callaloo is cooked.
Serve with rice.