Having a device that can be promoted on a menu to demonstrate that live shellfish and crustacea have been humanely killed prior to cooking is proving to be a big draw for chefs.
The Crustastun, which we featured on The Chefs’ Forum Chefs’ Knowledge section recently, is a way of stunning crabs and lobster before cooking that does not involve any inhumane killing methods such as plunging into boiling water or slicing in half while still alive. The method used is a simple pulse of electricity that does the job simply and effectively.
Rupert Taylor, Executive Head Chef at Bowood Hotel had this to say after working with Crustastun and having the machine on loan for the past two months:
“Having the Crustastun machine in the kitchen has made a real difference to the way we create our crab dishes here at Bowood.
We source the finest Brixham crab from Flying Fish in Cornwall. We have noticed a remarkable improvement in the eating quality of the crab meat owing to it being less stressed by the stunning method of dispatch, as opposed to previous methods used in the kitchen.
“It is fantastic for our waiters to be able to let the guests know that the crab has been killed humanely when they order it on the menu. Our young chefs are also more aware of the humanity of crustacean dispatch as a result of seeing and using the machine in our kitchen – a fantastic and very necessary piece of equipment.”
Check out Rupert’s stunning dish of Cornish crab, crumpet, Thai puree, apple and yuzu here in this fantastic recipe film:
Cornish crab, crumpet, Thai puree, apple and yuzu Recipe
• 1 x 1kg whole fresh crab
Thai paste• 6 medium green chillies
• 2 banana shallots
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 bunch of coriander
• 2 lemon grass sticks
• 1 lime
• 8 kaffir lime leaves
• 2.5cm galangal
• 1 tbsp coriander seeds
• 1 tsp black pepper corns
• 2 tsp fish sauce
• 3 tbsp rape seed oil
Thai puree• 30g finely chopped
• 4 x limes (juiced)
• 250g butter
• 16g garlic crushed
• 20g ginger
(peeled and chopped)
• 10g Thai paste
• 1kg sliced onions
• 100ml water
• 300m fish stock
• 500g baby spinach
Crumpets• 1 litre whole milk
• 850g plain flour
• 4 tsp instant yeast
• 4 tsp sugar
• 2 tsp salt
Yuzu gel• 160g yuzu
• 120g stock syrup
• 80g water
• 3g agar agar
Preparing the crab1. Place the crab in the Crustastun to dispatch.
2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil use 50g of salt per litre of water.
3. Place the crab in the boiling water to cook – a 1kg crab should take 8–10 minutes.
4. Remove the crab from the water and leave to cool in the blast chiller before preparing.
5. Lay the crab on its back and twist off the legs and claws.
6. Holding firmly on to the shell, push the body section out with your thumbs.
7. Pull off the ‘dead man’s fingers’ these are tough and inedible and should be discarded.
8. Scoop out the brown meat from the shell and reserve.
9. Cut the body section in half (try not to shatter the cartilage), using a small spoon or lobster pick, carefully remove the white meat.
10. Crack open the legs and pull out the meat with a lobster pick.
11. Twist apart the claw sections then break the claws with the end of a heavy knife. When doing this, try to use just enough pressure to crack the shell. Remove the meat with a spoon or lobster pick.
12. Finally, pick through the crab the minimum of 3 times to check for any stray shell.
Thai paste1. Place everything in a Hotmix Pro Easy Giaz, freeze and blitz until smooth.
Thai puree1. Sweat the lemongrass, garlic and ginger in the butter.
2. Add the Thai paste, saffron and lime and cook out for a minute.
3. Add the onions and sweat until completely soft.
4. Add the water and fish stock and cook slowly until all the liquid has evaporated.
5. Blend for 5-10 minutes until smooth.
6. Place in a Hotmix Pro Easy Giaz container and freeze.
Crumpets1. Warm the milk to 37c.
2. Mix all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add milk and whisk until smooth (no lumps). Leave to rest for 20 minutes until doubled in size.
4. Spray metal rings with pan spray and fill the ring ¼ of the way up with the batter.
5. When all the bubbles have come through to the top remove rings and flip over.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and leave top rest for 5 minutes.
7. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.
Yuzu gel1. Add all ingredients to the pan and bring to the boil.
2. Boil for 3 minutes.
3. Leave to cool until hard, then blend until smooth.