Shellfish includes crabs, both hard and soft shell, lobsters, shrimp, terrapin, green turtle, snapper, etc.
All shellfish must be actively alive before cooking. This is the essential point and will prevent ptomaine poisoning. Never cook shellfish if they are dead. Remember, they are deadly.
Place a boiler of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add one tablespoon of red pepper and one cup of vinegar. To cook lobster, shrimp, crabs, etc., cover and cook rapidly for twenty-five minutes for the medium size, fifteen minutes for the small and thirty minutes for the large ones.
When cooked, remove from the water and place under cold water. Let cool. Place on the ice until needed.
To clean crabs break off the claws and then save the two large ones. Then remove the apron pieces of the shell, like a plate under the eyes. Break the shell apart and remove the spongy fingers, sandbag and eggs, if any. Wash well. You now have white oval-shaped pieces of crab meat, that must be picked from its cells. Split with a silver knife and use an oyster fork to pick out the meat. This can be used for au gratin, à la King, ravigotte, deviled crabs, salads, croquettes and crab cakes.