Under the Ultraviolet Light, the Crab Cartilage Can’t Hide

Beneath the merciless UV light, the cartilage (bright white, center) is exposed for all to see.Photo: Melissa Hom
A year ago, Eric Ripert saw a kitchen gadget on a French TV show that made him sit up in his chair: an ultraviolet light that allowed restaurants to separate crabmeat from cartilage with surgical precision. “I was like, whoa, I can’t believe it,” exclaims the chef. The very next day he ordered one for Le Bernardin. Line cook Adrian Blatt goes through 20 to 30 blue and peekytoe crabs a night; under the light, the cartilage appears a brighter white than the meat. “We had to break the flesh up much more before, and we could never be sure we were getting all the cartilage,” says Ripert. “Now the lumps are less broken, we get more crab meat, and the chance that you are going to get a little piece of cartilage is much, much smaller.”