Crab is back in season and it’s such a versatile ingredient. A little goes a long way, and it works really well with all those lovely vegetables and salad-stuffs you can buy at road-side farm stalls right now. Your local fishmonger will sell ready-picked tubs of crab meat – be sure to get a mixture of brown and white.
This dish would make a great starter or serve it with buttery, herby new potatoes for a light main.
Roasted little gem hearts with brown and white crab meat
2 large heads of little gem lettuce
200g of picked white crab meat or 2 medium hen crabs ready to pick.
50g of brown crab meat
1 egg yolk
A splash of Secret Orchard Cider Vinegar
1 tsp of English mustard
150ml of rapeseed oil
2 old crusts of Da Bara sour dough bread
Mothers Garden Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley - picked and ripped up.
Preheat your oven to 180˚C.
Starting with the crab meat, check for shell and season very lightly with salt and lemon zest.
For the brown crab mayonnaise, start with the emulsion; add all the ingredients except the rapeseed oil to a bowl big enough to hold them all comfortably. Whisk them together and check your seasoning. The brown crab is lovely and salty so you shouldn’t need much. Now slow trickle in the rapeseed oil while whisking all the time - the mayonnaise will come together quite quickly and resemble a very thick cream.
For the little gem, simply ¼ them lengthways leaving a good amount of root. Give them a wash and set on a roasting tin. Place them in your preheated oven. They will only take 5 minutes but the cooking gives them a wonderful depth of flavour.
To plate, we love to serve this dish to the centre of the table for everyone to dip in and share. So, find a serving dish larger enough and place the lettuce on the bottom, now add the white meat in large spoon fulls. Dress the plate with the mayo and finish with the torn parsley, a grind of pepper and wedges of lemon.
Also on Ben’s seasonal menu…
We love to chargrill the young heads and dress while still warm with fish sauce and sesame oil.
This makes an amazing pesto - just replace your basil for the same amount of watercress. Brilliant with beef.
There is lots of this about in Cornwall and it makes for a wonderful alternative to spinach. It tastes salty and a little briny - try it with mussels or in your Salsa Verde to accompany roast lamb.