Delicacies from the deep

Bart Beek | VOLUME 30, ISSUE 5

Need an excuse to serve the good stuff? Try these crab recipes from super easy to all-out finesse …

Crab with pawpaw and orange salad

This tangy crab and pawpaw salad is perfect for a summer’s day, with the shredded pawpaw adding crunch, and the sweetness of the crab, brown sugar, and orange balancing the lemon’s acidity.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

200g crab meat, cooked and picked

120g green pawpaw, peeled, seeded and grated

1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into thin strips

10 mint leaves, shredded thinly

1 cup coriander, coarsely chopped

3 tblsps lemon juice

1 tblsp brown sugar

2 tblsps extra virgin olive oil

Salt flakes and freshly milled black pepper, to taste

4 small cos lettuce leaves, washed and stalk trimmed

6 radishes, 4 cut in halves, 2 sliced thin

1 navel orange, peeled and segmented

¼ cup micro cress

Combine the crab meat, pawpaw, cucumber, mint and coriander.

In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, brown sugar, olive oil and seasoning. Add some of the lemon dressing to the crab salad and toss gently.

Place a cos leaf on each plate and arrange the crab salad on top. Surround with the orange segments, radish halves and slices, extra dressing and a little cress.

Considered a delicacy in Japan, green tea noodles are made from buckwheat and wheat flours, and green tea leaves. Dashi is a stock that forms the base for many Japanese noodle and soup dishes. Instant dashi powder works well and takes just five minutes to make.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 minutes

Serves: 3

200g green tea noodles

10g dashi stock powder

4 tblsps light soy

2 tblsps mirin

1 tblsp sugar

160g crab meat, cooked and picked

3 spring onions, 2 cut into long strips, 1 chopped

½ cup coriander, torn

1 golf ball-sized ginger, peeled and cut into julienne

2 long red peppers (medium size), cut into thin strips

Put the green tea noodles into boiling water and cook for six minutes. Strain, rinse in hot water, and divide among three bowls.

In a saucepan, add the dashi stock powder to 1.25lt of water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for five minutes. Add the light soy, mirin and sugar. Check the seasoning and flavour balance.

Add the crab meat, the chopped spring onion, half the torn coriander and half the ginger. Pour over the noodles and garnish with the red pepper strips and the remainder of the spring onions, coriander and ginger.

This recipe celebrates ingredients that match perfectly with the delicious sweet flavour of crab – a thin shell of tart, crunchy apple around the crab, sweet corn panna cotta, avocado, and sweet watermelon balancing the grapefruit.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Serves: 10 portions

Burnt chilli aioli

1 head organic garlic

15ml extra virgin olive oil

1 bird’s eye chilli

1 free-range egg, yolk only

8ml apple cider vinegar

2 pinches white pepper

Salt flakes, to taste

75ml extra virgin olive oil

75ml grape seed oil

1 tblsp ice water

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Cut off the top of the garlic head, place onto a square of aluminium foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast on a tray for 35 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Squeeze out the roasted garlic from the cloves.

Cut the chill in half, discard the seeds. Place skin-side-up on a sheet of aluminium foil and burn with a brulee torch until blackened. Chop finely.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolk, vinegar, pepper and salt. Slowly trickle in both oils, whisking continuously until combined. Whisk in the ice water, 12g garlic puree, and chilli.

Sweet corn panna cotta

250g frozen sweet corn kernels

300g milk

100g cream

3g agar agar

Salt, to taste

Cook the corn, milk, cream and salt in a saucepan on a gentle boil until the corn is tender (about 20 minutes). Add the agar agar and boil gently for two minutes. Process with a stick blender until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve. Line a tray with cling film, pour in the corn mix until 2cm deep. Refrigerate until set. Cut into 3cm x 4cm rectangles, or into rounds with a cookie cutter.

Compressed watermelon

1 slice watermelon, trimmed and seedless, cut 1cm thick

Put the slice of watermelon in a vacuum packing bag and vacuum. Refrigerate until required. Cut into 4cm x 7cm rectangles.

Avocado puree

1½ (300g) Hass avocados

10g lime juice

1g salt flakes

In a blender, blend until smooth the avocado flesh with the lime juice and salt. Pass through a fine sieve and refrigerate.

Ruby grapefruit jelly

200g ruby grapefruit juice

20g brown sugar

1 pinch salt flakes

2g agar agar

In a small saucepan, bring the ruby grapefruit juice, brown sugar and salt to a boil. Whisk in the agar agar and boil gently while continuously whisking for two minutes. Line a dish with cling film, pour in the grapefruit mix until 10mm deep. Refrigerate until set. Remove carefully and cut into 4cm x 1cm diamond shapes.

Crab in apple skins

500g crab meat, cooked and picked

45g burnt chilli aioli

1 tblsp chopped chives

1 Granny Smith apple

1 lemon, juice only

Place the crab meat into a fine sieve and gently push out the excess liquid. A 500g packet of crab meat will yield about 370g of crab meat. Gently combine the drained crab meat with the aioli and chives.

Using a Chiba Peel S Japanese slicer (or a vegetable peeler) cut the apple into a 6cm-wide ribbon of about 2m length. Cut 10, 12cm-long sections. Brush both sides with lemon juice. Place 35g of the crab filling onto the apple ribbons and roll up tightly. Cut 10, 8cm-long apple ribbons and brush with lemon (for the base of the plate).


½ punnet baby nasturtium leaves

Freshly milled black pepper, to taste

Place a tablespoon of avocado puree onto a plate and drag through with a pastry brush. Place an 8cm apple ribbon into the centre, top with a piece of watermelon and a crab roll. Add a portion of sweet corn panna cotta, two pieces of ruby grapefruit jelly, dots of aioli, freshly milled pepper, and several nasturtium leaves.