This chap was dinner a day or two ago. He was a fine beast, weighing in at just under a kilo and beautifully decorated. I have been unable to do justice to the range and brightnes of the colours on his shell, which included indigo spots and a background of deep purple. Although they may look ugly at firt impression, they are wonderfully designed, and if they don't become damaged by fighting, they have a perfect symmetry, not only in form but in movement as well.
There are two main ways of preparing such a creature for the table, and neither is very pleasant for the animal. The more usual way is to place it in cold water with abundant rock salt and bring it to the boil. You leave it boiling for 20-30 minutes depending on the size.
The other way is to grill it on a hot-plate. First you have to slice it down the middle the entire length of its body. It will probably have some comment to make on this, which is why there are elastic bands around the claws. The squeamish will find that if you put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes before you cook it, you can leave it insensible but without affecting the taste.
It was Mrs Hickory's saint's day, by the way, which was the efficient cause of the creature's demise. He tasted won