This glorious crab recipe from Pete Biggs is a skilful joining of earth and sea, with curry oil infused celeriac offering a robust counterpoint to delicate crab. The Parmesan and parsley crumb adds a pleasing crunch, while the shaved fennel salad provides freshness.
Pete Biggs began his career as a pot washer in his local Beefeater – now he is more likely to bump into one, working in the swanky Capital Hotel, Knightsbridge, just round the corner from Buckingham Palace.
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To start the dish, make the curry oil, as this will need 24 hours to properly infuse. Toast the curry powder in a hot, dry pan for 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat, add the oil and infuse for 24 hours
4 tsp mild curry powder
400ml of rapeseed oil
When ready to cook, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the crab, cook for 10 minutes, then drain and cover with ice. Once cool, separate the white and brown crab meat, allowing 40g white meat and 1 tbsp of brown meat per person
1 crab, weighing approximately 3kg
To make the celeriac purée, peel the celeriac with a knife and cut into small pieces. Heat a saucepan, add the butter and celeriac and season with salt and curry powder. Cook with a lid on until celeriac is completely soft, add the milk and cream and return to the boil. Blitz in a blender until smooth
500g of celeriac
50g of butter
50ml of double cream
50ml of milk
7g of curry powder
For the diced celeriac, cut the remaining celeriac into ½ cm cubes. Heat a frying pan, add 100ml of the curry oil and fry the celeriac until tender
500g of celeriac
Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley in a small bowl and set aside
100g of Parmesan, grated
5g of parsley leaves, finely chopped
150g of breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Add 240g of white white crab meat and 6 tbsp of the brown crab meat to a bowl. Stir in 6 tbsp of celeriac purée, 6 tbsp of celeriac dice, the lemon juice and parsley. Transfer the mixture to a baking tray, scatter over the Parmesan breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for 4 minutes
2 tbsp of lemon juice
2 tbsp of parsley, finely chopped
Meanwhile, thinly shave the fennel bulbs using a mandoline and sprinkle over some salt, lime juice, dill and a dash of curry oil. Mix to combine and set aside
1 1/2 fennel bulbs
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 bunch of dill, finely chopped
Remove the crab from the oven and divide between serving bowls. Dress with a mound of the fennel salad and serve immediately
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