The royal red crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) is one of the most appreciated seafood in the world. And with a price that in Spain is around 75 euros per kilo cooked or frozen (up to 150 if bought alive), it is, in addition, one of the most lucrative.
His weight does not usually drop below three kilos, but there are specimens that weigh 12, with a carapace of almost 30 cm and legs that reach almost two meters. It is not as big as the coconut crab, the largest in the world, but it is a piece of a bug, which has a certain mysticism, in addition, difficult as it turns out to capture it.
King crab fishing is one of the most dangerous that exist, as inhabits regions near the Arctic Circle, where the meteorological conditions are extreme, and given its size, it is not easy to handle the cages and nets with which it is captured.
The Animals a native of the Bering Sea, in the Pacific Ocean, and has historically been one of the largest sources of resources for fishermen from Alaska and the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Given its economic value, the Soviet Union introduced the species in the murmansk fjord, in the Barents Sea, in the 60s. It was then that the brand became very popular Chatka – short for Kamchatka, where its fishing began – which today continues to market its popular canned crab. Over time the product became known as “red gold.” Pure Soviet luxury.
Although the Russians continue to catch the crab in their waters, the species was moving to the east coast of Finnmark, and has also become an invaluable resource for the northernmost county of Norway.
Norwegian fishermen are delighted with their presence, but king crab is an invasive species In all rules. Having no great natural enemies, apart from fishermen, he has carte blanche to devour any living being that crosses his path. It feeds on both animals and algae from the ocean floor and is known to it has managed to spread all over the coast of Norway.
For a few years now, the Norwegian authorities they have limited the dispersal of the crab beyond the eastern Finnmark region, where their catches are controlled, to maintain a sustainable population.
In Alaska their fishing is also controlled: is the only state in the United States whose constitution explicitly states that all seafood shall be used, developed, and maintained based on the principle of sustainable performance. The king crab fishery is, however, large, as Alaska has the most productive bodies of water on the planet. We talk about more than 9000 tons per year, much of which ends up in processed products for the US market.
A king crab menu
Although the taste of king crab It is famous for the succulent of its meat, the truth is that, when cooked alive. very reminiscent of a crab or spider crab. More than its flavor, the great advantage of crab is that, once in the kitchen, its large size allows elaborations impossible to carry out with other shellfish.
We had the opportunity to taste king crab in a menu organized by the Madrid restaurant The Tuna House (C / Pintor Juan Gris, 5), which practices a asian cuisine ideal to check the versatility that seafood can achieve.
The crabs they came alive from norway and they were sacrificed in the same restaurant. Although they were small – between 3 and 4 kilos – they allowed the chef to use different parts for each preparation.
We started the meal with a salad with crab meat and wakame that did not arouse passions, but things quickly improved. Using the larger legs, the cook prepared a sashimi and ones nigiris exquisite; with the medium, one of the dishes of the night: a Malay-style stir-fry, to eat with your hands, which was a delight.
Finally, the small legs (which were still more than 20 cm) were cooked open in the oven, with yellow pepper and shiso sauce – known as Japanese basil.
To end, could not miss the head, the tastiest part of the animal (essence of our beloved txangurro) which in this case served to make a very tasty rice that, however, did not quite convince me to dress such a delicacy.
Although in principle the menu was going to be available for a week, at a price of 60 euros per person, the crabs flew right away and barely gave for two services. The day, however, will be repeated every day October 17, 18 and 19. Reservations are already open.
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Images | Norwegian Sea / Chatka