The Fast, Easy Way To Shred Imitation Crab Meat

imitation crab meat
imitation crab meat - Derketta/Getty Images

Known as the hot dog of the sea, imitation crab meat will work in a pinch if you're on a budget and don't want to splurge on the real thing. Imitation crab meat is often made with processed meat from a pollock. It generally comes prepackaged as red and white sticks, which means you'll have to shred the imitation crab to properly use it in a recipe. Sure, you can slice it up into little pieces or even toss it into a chopper for a quick slice. However, there may be an easier and less messy way of shredding that imitation crab.

It all has to do with pressure — you will need a kitchen knife, preferably a butcher or cake knife. You will want to make sure that the blade is bigger than the imitation crab sticks. From there, it's all a matter of placing your imitation crab on a cutting board and pressing down with the flat edge of the knife. Start at the top of your imitation crab and work your way down.

Imitation crab isn't the most durable of foods, so the weight should flatten the meat and cause it to shred as a result. Instead of sticks, you should have long strands of imitation crab, which you can then chop into smaller pieces to fit your preference.

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

Why You Want To Shred Imitation Crab Meat

imitation crab in a bowl
imitation crab in a bowl - Igorbondarenko/Getty Images

There's a simple reason you may want to shred your imitation crab -- to try to mimic the qualities of the actual crab. While different types of crab can vary in consistency, generally, crab meat is tender but also slightly stringy. It easily falls apart and melts in one's mouth. In comparison, imitation crab is thicker and chewier.

According to Healthline, imitation crab contains several additives to give the meat its texture. Xanthan gum is one of the ingredients that helps glue the different strands of meat together. Additionally, imitation crab contains salt, sugar, and starch to flavor the meat. In fact, 63% of imitation crab's calories come from carbs instead of protein. All that to say is that while imitation crab tries to replicate crab, it doesn't have the same texture and taste. Imitation crab doesn't have the same mouthfeel as one might expect from an actual crab, especially as a stick.

By shredding the imitation crab, you're getting an approximation of the real deal. Having smaller pieces of crab allows you to weave the ingredients into recipes, better masking that you're using a knockoff rather than genuine crab meat.

Recipes For Imitation Crab Meat

imitation crab with cheese and tomatoes
imitation crab with cheese and tomatoes - Rezkrr/Getty Images

Fortunately, you have plenty of options when it comes to imitation crab. There are multiple delicious ways that you can use imitation crab to elevate your recipes. While some may just eat imitation crab sticks as a quick snack, that's a limited and frankly boring option when you can use it as a basis for a delicious crab dip or a sandwich.

Combine crab with cheese and your favorite seasonings for a crab dip that's perfect for Sunday night football. Speaking of Game Day, why not use that shredded imitation crab as a topping for some nachos? Alternatively, you can spice up those grilled cheeses and create a dinner that your children will surely love.

If you're feeling more like pasta, use pieces of crab meat to fill ravioli shells for a quick and inexpensive romantic meal for two. If you're still concerned about the overall texture of imitation crab, then consider tossing it in the air fryer to transform it. The air fryer will give the crab a crunch that's perfect for any sauces or dips you want to try. You can also try imitation crab sprinkled across a salad if you're looking for something a bit fresher.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.