Ingredients

4 live or freshly cooked spider crabs
40 g/12 oz butter, plus extra for greasing
3 tablespoons brandy
2 egg yolks
2 quantity Béchamel Sauce
50 g/2 oz Gruyère cheese, grated
salt

Instructions

1.If using live spider crabs, plunge them into a large pan of salted, boiling water, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.
2.Using a small strong knife, force the shells apart, inserting it under the tail flaps. Remove and discard the gills and stomach sacs.
3.Extract the white meat and pinkish-red corals, if present, from the bodies, then crack the claws and legs and pick out the meat.
4.Wash and dry the crab shells to use as serving dishes, then grease with butter. (You can also use individual gratin dishes.)
5.Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Stir the corals and brandy together in a bowl.
6. Stir the crab meat, egg yolks and brandy mixture into the béchamel sauce and spoon into the crab shells or dishes.
7.Sprinkle with the grated Gruyère and dot with the butter. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling.

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