Craving the taste of Venice? Authentic Spanner Crab Salad: delicate meat, fresh herbs, olive oil & lemon. Serve in stunning shells for elegance.

Spanner crab salad – Venetian style


4 (about 1.2 kg) spanner crab (see note)
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
1½ lemons, juice only
To serve: coarse sea salt and lemon cheeks


To remove the crab meat, lift the triangular flap underneath the crab that attaches to the top shell. Lift top shell away from body, wash and dry and set aside. Clean out the gills and coral, and discard. Remove crab meat from body and claws, discarding shells (except top shells). You should have about 650gm of crab meat.

Season crab meat generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add parsley, olive oil and lemon juice and stir to combine. Divide mixture between reserved top shells. Spread coarse sea salt on a serving platter, arrange crab shells on top and serve with lemon cheeks to the side.

In Venice, crab (granceola) is almost always served in the shell, the sweet meat needing just parsley, olive oil and lemon juice as flavourings. If you don’t want to cook crabs, ask your fishmonger for crab shells and stuff them with store-bought crab meat.

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