Alison Reed and Jason Sgro, of Noosa Spanner Crabs.
Alison Reed and Jason Sgro, of Noosa Spanner Crabs. Geoff Potter

Spanner crab specialty

RAW, quality, hand-picked crab meat.

The words may not sound appetising but the sight, smell and taste is helping one Noosa business throw a spanner in the works at the 2011 delicious National Produce Awards.

On Monday night, the Coast’s multi-award-winning seafood suppliers Alison Reed and Jason Sgro, of Noosa Spanner Crabs, will know whether they will add another plaque to the trophy wall.

Noosa Spanner Crabs is the only Queensland finalist in the “From the Sea” category, highlighting its significance in the nation-wide industry.

The national judging panel consists of some of Australia’s most-respected chefs, including Matt Moran, Phillip Johnson, Cheong Liew, Alla Wolf-Tasker and Maggie Beer.

Three previous “From the Sea” produce award plaques (2008 finalist, 2009 winner, 2010 consistently excellent product winner) hang proudly in the office of the Noosaville factory and shop.

“It is the only hand-picked raw crab meat of this quality,” Jason said.

“I think we have showed Noosa and the product respect.”

The business has evolved from a single tank of spanner crabs in the couple’s garage to become a stand-out business within a sea of suppliers and used not only among the culinary elite but also everyday cooks across the Coast.

“We have Matt Preston coming out to visit us at our retail shop when he is up here,” Alison said about the MasterChef judge.

What makes the Noosa Spanner Crabs produce so special is what Alison and Jason do with their catch.

“We are so small that we can have a really good quality control over the product,” Jason said.

“We grade all products coming into the tank and going out of the tank.

“We will never go down the mass product line as that is what sets our product apart from the others.”

Not even a season of natural disasters earlier in the year could conspire against Alison and Jason becoming finalists for the fourth year in a row.

And as the pair prepares for the big night at the Sydney Opera House, their children Hudson, 14, and Bailee, 9, will be cheering them from afar back on the Coast with what else but a home-cooked seafood delight.

EXPERT COOKING TIPS:

1. Source a live crab and quality produce.

2. Heavily salt cooking and chilling water.

3. Follow cooking times (avoid under or over cooking).

4. Chill down quickly using iced water.

Check out the blog for more pointers at: spannercrabsnoosa.blogspot.com
 

Method

1. Put your crabs to sleep by putting them in the fridge or freezer first.

2. Wash to remove silt from the crab’s body.

3. Bring a pot of salty water to a rapid boil.

4. Put crabs in the pot and bring back to boil within three to four minutes.

When water returns to boil, start timing the cook and reduce heat until the water is just turning over.

5. Remove crabs from pot and fully submerge them in salted ice water.

6. Remove from ice water and drain. Store in fridge, eyes down for up to three days.
 

Cooking times:

300-500 grams: 9-11 mins

500-700 grams: 11-13 mins

700-1000 grams: 13-16 mins



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