BBC

Classic dressed crab

Ingredients

Preparation method

  1. Place the crab onto a chopping board, hard shell facing down. Remove the legs by twisting them off where they meet the body. Remove the claws by pulling them off from the body.

  2. Separate the crab body from the central part of the crab by placing the crab on its back (hard shell-side down). Put your hands under the edge of the crab and push upwards until you hear it break. You may need to use a heavy knife to help you lever the crab apart. Remove all ten of the spongy 'dead men's fingers' and discard. Drain any excess water from the shell of the crab and remove the stomach sac and hard membranes inside the shell.

  3. Use a spoon to remove the brown meat from the shell and any soft shell that has formed. Place it into a clean bowl and mash with a fork. Season with half of the lemon juice, half of the cayenne pepper and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  4. Press down on the edges of the crab shell, breaking away the outer edges to form a 'dish' for serving. Rinse the shell in cold water and dry thoroughly.

  5. Break each claw in half. Use the handle of a teaspoon to scrape the white meat out of the thick end of the claw. Place into a separate clean bowl. Use the back of a heavy-bladed knife to crack open the remaining piece of claw and the pincers. Remove all the white meat and flake into the bowl. Remove the piece of cartilage inside each of the claws, pick off the meat and discard the cartilage.

  6. If the legs are large enough, it's worth picking the meat out of them. Snap them in half and discard the thin end of the leg. Using the back of a heavy-bladed knife, smash the shell on the thicker part of the leg. Pull the meat out and add to your bowl. Run your fingers through the white meat in the bowl to break up the meat and to pick out any remaining bits of shell. Season with the remaining lemon juice, remaining cayenne pepper and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  7. Spoon the white meat into the centre of the reserved crab shell. Spoon the brown meat along either side of the white meat.

  8. Remove the cooked egg white from the hard-boiled egg and grate finely, or push through a sieve. Place a line of the grated egg white along the left-hand edge and right-hand edge of the white crab meat. Repeat with the egg yolk. Place a line of the chopped chives alongside the grated egg yolk and egg white to form 3 stripes on either side of the white crab meat. Place the dressed crab onto a large serving plate

  9. For the salad, blend the egg yolk, one tablespoon of the white wine vinegar and one teaspoon of the Dijon mustard in a food processor until pale and creamy. Continue to blend and add the oil, a little at a time, until all of the oil in incorporated and the mayonnaise is thick and creamy. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon the mayonnaise into a small bowl and place alongside the dressed crab.

  10. Whisk the remaining white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard in a bowl until well combined. Whisk in the oil until well combined and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  11. Mix the little gem lettuce leaves, watercress and dressing together in a bowl and spoon alongside the dressed crab.

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time

No cooking required cooking time

Serves 4

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