4(about 1.2 kg) spanner crab (see note)2 tbspfinely chopped flat-leaf parsley125 ml(½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil1½lemons, juice onlyTo serve:coarse sea salt and lemon cheeks
Cook crab in boiling, salted water until cooked through and shell turns bright orange (15-20 minutes). Drain and allow to cool.
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.
Note Spanner crabs are available at select fishmongers. Their particularly sweet meat is very similar to the spider crabs commonly used in Venice. If unavailable, you can substitute with mud crabs.