Make the most of seafood available on the doorstep

Potted crab
Potted crab
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Welcome back after the new year break! Such lovely weather we’ve had.

This week I’m showing you a recipe to use if you live by the sea and can get fresh crab - my version of potted crab.

Crab is a crustacean that has a skeleton on the outside protecting its soft, flavoursome flesh inside.

There are many varieties of crab. The most commonly-eaten crab in the UK is the common edible or brown crab that can weigh more than 6.5 lbs and contains plenty of sweet and succulent flesh.

They are found in the North Sea, North Atlantic and Mediterranean and all around the British isles where 60 tonnes are caught annually.

Female crabs have sweeter flesh than males and both are in season from April through to November.

When buying your crab, choose one that feels heavy and doesn’t have liquid moving around inside it. If you like white meat, I would suggest buying a cock or male crab as it contains more flesh.

It is best to buy crab while it is still alive, but you can get the meat pre-packaged.

It’s best to eat freshly- cooked crab on the day, but it will keep for a couple of days.

We buy all our fish, crabs and lobsters from Johnson’s fishmongers in Old Portsmouth, where you can see your live crabs before you buy.

Oh, and Restaurant 27 is now very close to being fully booked for Valentines Day, so get in there quick!

· Kevin Bingham is the chef patron of Restaurant 27 at Southsea. Call (023) 9287 6272.

POTTED CRAB

Utensils

2 mixing bowls

Spoon/spatula

Tea towel

Sieve

Chopping board

Sharp knife

Peeler

Serving dishes/pots

Ingredients

8oz fresh white crab meat

1 carrot (large)

1 head of fennel

2 sticks of celery

4oz crème fraiche

1 pinch paprika

1 teaspoon finely-chopped dill

Lemon juice

1 ripe avocado

2oz cream cheese

Salt and pepper

Croutons or crusty bread

Method

1. Peel and very finely dice fennel, carrot and celery.

2. Place into bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, mix thoroughly and cover with cling film, then leave to stand for four hours.

3. Lightly rinse vegetables in sieve with cold water, squeeze out excess water through the tea towel.

4. Place into clean mixing bowl; add crab, dill, paprika, crème fraiche and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix together well and place into serving dishes/pots and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours.

5. Beat together the ripe avocado and cream cheese (using a food processor is a preference for a smoother finish)

6. Spoon the avocado mixture on to your crab mix and serve with a small dressed salad, croutons or crusty bread.

For a little more luxury, add a small amount of caviar and enjoy with a glass of champagne.