Lobster, Homarus gammarus, king of crustaceans. They can live for decades and grow up to 60cm long in coastal waters. Weighing in at around 500g to 800g they are known for their particularly tender, firm meat. The main fishing season is in the summer months.
The enormous claws of lobsters are not symmetrical; the larger of the two is for crushing and holding its prey, the smaller one is for cutting and tearing. Usually blue with red antennae when caught, they turn bright red when cooked due to a structural change in the crustacyanin protein.
Red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, is a particularly noble delicacy and a native of the northern Pacific Ocean, from the Sea of Japan up to the Kamchatka Peninsula. These deep-sea inhabitants grow up to one metre in size, have a leg span of up to 1.5 metres and can weigh up to ten kilograms. Aside from mankind, king crabs have very few natural predators. Their legs and claws are often sold frozen.
Norway lobsters, Nephrops norvegicus, are also known as Dublin Bay prawns, langoustine or scampi. They are related to the lobster, but are slimmer and rarely grow more than 25cm long. They are especially prized for their mild, sweet meat. Only the tail is used. Scampi and prawns are often confused but the distinction is quite easy: scampi have long claws, prawns do not.
Prawns and Shrimp
Prawns and shrimp - the way we refer to these little creatures is a little murky at best. In Britain, the use of the word prawn tends to refer to the larger common prawn, Palaemon serratus, whilst shrimp tends to be used for the common shrimp, Crangon crangon, which are much smaller, brown crustaceans that are often served potted in lightly spiced clarified butter.
Our use of these two words is much more fluid than their taxonomical structure, thus in the US you are far more likely to hear the word shrimp than prawn. Actually the two species are quite different. Prawns have claws on three pairs of legs, whilst shrimp only have them on two pairs of their legs, additionally, they have different gill structures.
King prawns are simply large prawns often farmed in the US or Asia, which are marketed by size. Generally the larger the prawn, the higher the price. Giant tiger prawns, Penaeus monodon, with their distinctive black-and-white striped markings are native to the Arabian Sea and the Pacific Ocean. They were accidentally introduced to the east coast of America, and now thrive in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Florida. All prawns have five pairs of swimming legs (pleopods) and five pairs of walking legs (pereopods).
The brown crab, or edible crab, Cancer pagurus, is commonly found in rock pools and crevices around the Atlantic coast and is the most important species of edible crab in Europe. Brown crab meat is found in the shell cavity at the top of the crab. This has a rich distinctive flavour and is less meaty than the moist, flaky, white meat which comes from the main shell, legs and claws. The former is very high in omega-3 whilst many consider the most flavoursome meat to come from the claws.
The soft-shell crab is not a genus of its own, but the name for a crab that has just moulted its shell. Once shed, the new shell takes a few days to harden. Soft-shell crabs can be boiled, pan-fried, deep fried or grilled and are eaten whole. The meat is sweet and full of juicy crab flavour.
FIND OUT MORE
Shellfish: Sea DelightShellfish are nature’s bounty: they allow us to bring the sea home.
Sea Urchin: The Taste of the SeaSea urchins are appreciated more than ever among food lovers. Some even prefer them to oysters.
The Ten Best Secluded Gardens for Dining Out in LondonFalstaff has selected the ten best secluded dining gardens in London.
Haugen: Alpine-themed Restaurant to Open in London's Olympic ParkThe UK-based restaurant group D&D London is to open an Alpine-themed restaurant in Stratford, East London, in September 2021.
Dior to Open Paris RestaurantDior have announced they will open restaurant at their historic Paris headquarters.
The Seven Best Seaside Restaurants in the WorldWhat could be better than a fresh sea breeze and delectable of food? Falstaff has come up with the seven best seaside restaurants in the...
Gordon Ramsay to Open Second Restaurant at London's SavoyBritish chef Gordon Ramsay is opening a second restaurant at The Savoy, focusing on seafood.
The Top Hat: Monopoly-Themed Restaurant Opens in LondonLondon’s The Top Hat Bar and Restaurant has just opened on Tottenham Court Road, inspired by the famous board game.
Marco Pierre White to Open New Restaurant in London's West EndA Marco Pierre White restaurant will open in London's West End in October.
How to Make Perfect Beef Burgers - Six Helpful HintsFrom the best beef cuts to the right technique for melting cheese, here's how to make the perfect beef burger at home in six easy...
You Want the World’s Most Expensive Fries with That?New York City's Serendipity3 has dished up the world's most costly French fries in honour of National French Fry Day on July 13.