Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Market-Fresh Crab Salad

Sometimes there is nothing better than a beautiful, zingy, fresh crab salad. This one is really good, even if I do say so myself. I buy the crab already cooked from the fish stall at the Saturday Farmers Market in Parliament Hill where they are around £6 for a really big one. You can buy them already dressed but there is a mark up and I personally love getting every last bit of meat out of them, and bashing them about in the kitchen!

If you too are going to prepare your own crab, you will need some newspaper, a big heavy cleaver, and a skewer, as well as a sieve  3 bowls (one for white meat, one for brown and one to sieve the brown meat into) and a bag to put all your rubbish in.

First twist all the legs of and put aside to deal with later.

Next, bash the crab's back a few times on a hard surface until you can pull out the central leg socket bit. Remove the dead man's fingers from it. Now, this but has lots of delicious, flaky meat that you can ease out with your fingers or with a skewer. This is easier on a large crab where the fleshy pockets are larger. If its smaller, neatly cleave the thing in two and work from there, being careful not to put any cartilage in with the meat.

dead man's fingers

Now remove the squiggly white intestines and stomach from the main shell and then scoop out all the brown meat and crab shell wet, white meat into a bowl and sieve.

Now set to work on the claws and legs, cleaving them open and pushing out the meat with a skewer.

Finally check all the meat for bits of shell with your hands.

Ingredients (serves 3)
1 large crab (prepared for you if you don't want to get your hands dirty - I personally do)

1 fennel bulb
Juice of 1 lemon
2 handfuls of coriander
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of fennel or carraway seeds
A handful of cherry tomatoes
3 small handfuls of young salad leaves
Salt and pepper

Firstly, slice your fennel super finely, ideally with a mandolin setting on a food processor, otherwise a mandolin will do but take much more time. Slice your cherry tomatoes in 4.

Next, chop your herbs finely and place in a bowl with the white crab meat, tomatoes, fennel and 2 tablespoons of the brown meat. Add the mayonnaise, seeds, half the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix it all up, taste, and add more seasoning and more lemon juice to a level you are happy with.

Dress the salad leaves with a squidge of lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Make beds of it on the plates. Push your crab salad into a mold and turn out onto the salad. Serve with some nice toasted bread.