Photography credited to Mike Searle
Prepared crabmeat can be expensive, but crab claws are generally cheaper and more fun to eat. They can be bought pre-cooked with half the shell removed, but if your fisherman friend has given you a big bag of claws, just pop them into some salted boiling water for a few minutes, rinse and allow to cool. Give the shell a good crack with a meat hammer or rolling pin so they are easier to eat. Don’t forget to let your guests do some of this, as that’s part of the fun of eating crab claws.
Herby Buttery Crab Claws
2 small onions, finely diced
1 fennel, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
100ml (¼ cup) white wine
2 tablespoons parsley and dill, chopped (fennel ends can also be used)
16 crab claws
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon sugar
A splash of olive oil
Lemon, to decorate
Put a large pot straight onto the gas, splash in some oil and sweat off the diced onions. Pour in the wine and sliced fennel, then stir. Reduce right down so that there’s hardly any liquid left. Next stir in the tomato puree. Slowly add the butter in stages, stirring through. Now add the crab claws.
Give a good stir and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Keeping the lid on helps keep the moisture in but you will still need to stir occasionally. Add some seasoning – you may need the sugar depending on how sweet the fennel is, so make sure to taste before you season.
Once the claws are heated right through, sprinkle in the fresh herbs and stir (keeping back some dill for decoration at the plating up stage). If you like a little spice then throw in some Tabasco now.
Place the crab claws on a plate and top with dill and lemon. Sprinkle some sauce around the plate and serve with crusty bread. This is a great starter or also fab as a tapas style plate while sipping wine with friends. As a main course, serve with some herby homemade chips and fresh peas.
Chardonnay is a great wine with crab.
This dish forces you to get your hands dirty and get involved with your food, so feel free to dish out bibs for a laugh.
To get a copy of the Surf Cafe Living cookbook, packed with lots more tasty recipes plus tips for styling your home at www.thesurfcafecookbook.com.