May is generally the month for the first shellfish of summer. This is the time when crab and lobster fisherman can start to relax about the weather, and consider lowering their crab pots for the start of the season. Sheltered harbours and coves make great spots for catching these majestic shellfish. Cooked crab makes great salads or open sandwiches on traditional Irish brown soda bread. If you want to be exotic, you could try a dish the Chinese love, by stir frying whole cooked crab claws in a spicy black bean sauce with veggies. Lobsters are an elegant shellfish, and often need nothing more than to be served cold with a good mayonnaise and fresh bread and salad – and lobster picks so you get every morsel of meat out of the claws and leg shells! A nice glass of crisp white wine to go with, and what a gracious feast you have!
For those not familiar with cooking and preparing their own fresh crab and lobster, fishmongers generally sell whole cooked and ready dressed crabs and cooked lobsters in season. If you are lucky enough to find fresh uncooked crab claws, these only need cooking for 4-5 minutes in boiling water. A very easy way of getting super fresh crab meat. After boiling, drain and refresh in cold water. Remove shells by tapping the edge of the claws a couple of times quite hard, with the back of a heavy kitchen knife. This should crack the main shell sufficiently to remove it without damaging the claw meat. Use shellfish picks to remove meat from the knuckles of the leg shells.