I've been studying and preparing myself for today. I'm going to prepare and boil whole live crabs. My dad does it all the time. He uses a big cleaver and chopped them in half. No chance I'm doing that.
This is Jamie's note on the subject:
Dealing with killing a crab is quite a controversial thing. Some people believe you should just drive a sharpening steel or skewer straight through it, which kills the crab instantly. I have always put mine into a great big stock pot, seven or eight of them at a time, layered up with some nice bits of fennel, peppercorns, etc., then covered them with cold water and turned the heat on, so by the time it comes up to temperature they should have gone to sleep and won't know what's going on.
If you prefer to kill the crab first, place it upside down on a chopping board and feel for the bony flap on the underside of its body. Pull it back, poke a sharpening steel or a thick skewer into the hole you see there, and thump the top of it with your hand so it shoots right down into the crab. This crushes the crab's central nervous system, killing it immediately (am I still reading Jamie Oliver's book or is this a scene from a Quentin Tarantino's film?).
To cook the crab, fill a deep pot with cold water and stir in salt, until it tastes about as salty as seawater. Drop your crab in the pot and make sure it's completely submerged. Put the pot on the stove and bring the water slowly to the boil, then turn the heat down simmer gently for about 10 minutes to make sure the heat has penetrated the thick shell and cooked the meat inside. Lift the crab carefully out of the hot water, using a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs, and leave it on a tray to cool down.
Ok, out of the two options, I'm going for the boiling them alive. I don't think I can do the poking with sharp steel thing.
My friend from work Sandra told me to make sure to secure the lid just in case if the crab try to crawl out based on her experience. oh no...!
I'm going to the fish market now to get some scallops, clams and of course, the crab. Wish me luck...
PS. Jamie also says to watch out for its claws - a big angry crab can give you a bone-crushing pinch if you're not careful!