I have always been told that to properly prepare the cooked Maryland Blue
Crab (either hard or softshell), after cracking off the shell the gills must
be removed. These are feathery-looking spongy structures also called “dead
man’s fingers” underneath the shell and over the meat. Supposedly, eating
these structures will make you ill. I find it improbable that there is a
poison that could be present in the gills but not in the rest of the crab.
I also can’t quite see it as a concentration repository for bacteria (like
shrimp veins, I suppose). What do you know about it? (There is also a
variety of coral called “dead man’s fingers” too. No relation.)
(These instructions actually apply to all crab preparation).