In Norway we kall it Trollkrabbe (meaning Troll-Crab). I may look like a troll with all the spikes covering the body and the claws. I believe this crab is called «Northern stone-crab» and the Latin name is Lithodes maja. It is related to the king-crab, but smaller.
Although it’s smaller it is not too small to eat. I got the crab from a fisherman who had caught one in his net while fishing for herring. He had so much work with all the herring that he didn’t care about the crab. I got the crab and I thought «It looks like a king crab.. maybe it taste like a king crab?»
The large king crab is found further north in Norway, but why not try a northern stone crab? I boiled it for 12 minutes in salted water and then set it outside. When the crab was cold, I served it with white bread and mayonnaise. I have tasted king crab, but the northern stone crab tasted even better. Only the legs and claws are eatable.
The norther stone crab is also fond in parts of UK and don’t throw it away if you get one in your pot or fishing net – it tastes fantastic! Below you can see a picture of the northern stone crab while it still was alive.
Last Sunday I went for a walk along the seashore. I know of a beach were there are several species of shells, and the cockles are easy accessible right under the mud and small stones. I picked about 20 cockles of different seize, but avoiding the biggest (and oldest). Home at my kitchen I let the cockles rest in fresh water for half an hour. A look into my refrigerator made me make my own recipe for this day.
I cut half an onion and put it in a pot with some olive oil and and a small piece of butter. I fried the onion for a couple of minutes. I then added some milled pepper, salt and a garlic clove. A minute later I added a cup of apple juice (as I did not have any white wine), and turned up the heat. When it started to boil I added the fresh cockles – starting with the biggest. 4-5 minutes later the cockles were opened. The cockles were put on a plate – and eaten as they were.
The ballan wrasse (Labrus Bergylta) is a common fish along the coast of countries around the North Sea. In the summer the wrasse seek to shallow waters where they are easy to catch. The ballan wrasse is a regular visitor to my fishing nets when the nets are set on shallow water close to the shore. The wrasse is also easy to catch by using a regular fishing rod. You may then use a small fishing hook and bait it with periwinkles found in the shoreline.
In Norway there are no commercial fishery for ballan wrasse, and most recreational fishermen are not interested in the large and «bony» wrasse. Most people are therefore surprised when they finally get a chance to taste this unpopular fish.
It is surprisingly easy to fillet a wrasse. You do not need to clean the fish before you start filleting. First you make a deep and long cut from the neck to the ventral fin.
Then you take a firm grip on the fishtail and start to move the knife forward, towards the first cut. This will give you a nice fillet with no bones.
When removing the skin you may use a pincer to get a firm grip on the skin. Let the knife blade point a bit downwards while you «saw» off the skin.
It helps if you make sideways moves with the pincer; pulling the fillet slowly towards you. Let the knife do the job. Then turn the fish around and repeat. That’s all!
The common cockle is (as its name says) a common shell in Europe. This species is of commercial interest in several countries (like in Great Brittan and Holland).
A couple of years ago mechanical harvesting was banned in Holland due to damages the vessels and the gear caused to the bottom fauna. The cockles are therefore now harvested manually.
We have cockles in Norway as well, but we do not have those large harvesting areas like the shallow banks off the coast of Holland.
The cockles above were found on sand bottom (30 cm. depth). I used my fingers to filter the sand, and it was then easy to find (and feel) the cockles. The growth lines indicate that these cockles are 5-8 years old.
The Norwegian name for common cockle is «heart shell» (translated). When you look at the photo of a live cockle below you will understand how it got its Norwegian name.