Portland crab with chargrilled pineapple, coconut and cashew nut

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The pleasingly mild flavour of crab is enlivened by zingy lime, warming coriander and tartly sweet pineapple in this stunning crab salad recipe from Richard Davies. Crunchy squid ink tapioca adds another dimension of flavour to round off this pretty-as-a-picture dish.

First published in 2015




Crab salad

Spiced pineapple

Pineapple jelly

Burnt coconut

Cashew nuts

  • 20g of cashew nuts
  • 20g of sugar
  • 20g of water

Squid ink tapioca crisp

To garnish


  • Deep fat fryer
  • Muslin cloth
  • 8cm cutter


For the squid ink tapioca crisp, cook the tapioca in a large pan of boiling water for 18 minutes. Drain and run under hot water
  • 100g of tapioca
Allow the tapioca to drain, then measure out 500g and add to a bowl. Stir through the squid ink, then spread onto a tray. Leave to dry overnight in a cool, dry place
To prepare the pineapple jelly, start by making a pineapple essence. Peel the pineapple, dice roughly and add to a bowl with the sugar and lemon juice. Set aside to macerate for 3-4 hours, then add to a blender and blitz quickly
Pass the mix through 3-4 layers of muslin - this will produce a clear pineapple essence. Measure out 265g of the pineapple essence and add to a saucepan over a medium heat. Spray a tray with oil and set aside
Add the Vege-Gel to the pan with the pineapple essence and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour onto the oiled tray in an even layer - the jelly will set in a matter of minutes so you will need to move quickly. Once set, cut the jelly into circles using a pastry cutter and store on parchment paper in the fridge until required
  • 17g of Vege-Gel
To prepare the crab salad, pick through the meat, ensuring there are no pieces of shell and carcass. Squeeze out the meat to remove any excess liquid, then add to a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Season, stir well and keep in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve
For the spiced pineapple, remove the skin and cut into quarters, lengthways. Stand each quarter on a chopping board and cut out the core using the tip of a sharp knife
Add the sugar to a pan and place over a medium-high heat, melting until a light golden caramel is formed. Remove from the heat, add 1/3 of the pineapple juice and stir to combine
Add the remaining juice and stir to incorporate. Add the Szechuan pepper, cinnamon stick and star anise and allow to infuse for 20 minutes and pass through a fine sieve
Add the liquid to a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, leave for 5 minutes and place the pineapple quarters in the liquid to infuse for 20 minutes. Remove from the liquid and allow to drain
Place a chargrill pan over a very high heat. Coat the pineapple in a very small amount of the vegetable oil and a pinch of salt, then grill on one side until dark golden in colour. Remove from the grill, allow to rest and slice the pineapple into 1/2cm thick pieces
  • vegetable oil
For the burnt coconut, heavily toast half of the coconut in a hot, dry frying pan until dark brown. Add to a bowl, mix in the remaining ingredients and store in a container until required
Preheat the deep fryer to 170°C
For the cashew nuts, place all of the ingredients in a pan and bring to a thick syrup. Remove from the heat, drain and allow most of syrup to drain off in a fine sieve
  • 20g of cashew nuts
  • 20g of sugar
  • 20g of water
Deep-fry the cashews for 1-2 minutes, until the nuts are golden and candied. Drain, allow to cool on a tray and chop roughly. Store in a container until required
Preheat the deep-fat fryer to 220°C
10 minutes before plating, break the squid ink tapioca into pieces and deep-fry until puffed up. Season and set aside while you plate the other elements
Divide the crab salad onto plates and neatly spread out to form circles. Add a circle of pineapple jelly on top, then add the pineapple and the burnt coconut, decorate with the coriander, tomato, cucumber, rocket and flowers and finish with the fried tapioca and a little more of the burnt coconut
First published in 2015

Richard Davies’ celebrated career in gastronomy was set in motion by a frank chat with his headmaster at the age of fifteen.

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