Fennel crackers, crab, dill, and citrus mayonnaise


These delicate canapés from Nathan Outlaw showcase the wonderful flavour match of crab with fennel through wafer-thin fennel crackers topped with a lemon and dill crab mayonnaise. Perfect for a special occasion, these take a little preparation but are well worth it. For help preparing a live crab, see our how to cook with crab guide.

First published in 2016




Fennel cracker

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of fennel seeds, toasted and chopped
  • 92g of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of sugar

Crab mayonnaise

To serve


  • Food mixer fitted with a dough hook
  • Blender


To make the fennel cracker dough, add all of the ingredients to a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Mix for 6 minutes until fully combined then wrap the dough tightly in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of fennel seeds, toasted and chopped
  • 92g of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
While the dough is chilling, prepare the crab. Turn the crab over and find the small pointed flap on the underside. Forcefully insert a sturdy knife or screwdriver into the hole underneath the flap until you feel it go all the way through the crab. Flip the crab back over and allow any liquid to drain out of the hole
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and submerge the crab in the water. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the water and allow to cool completely
Once cool, remove the white and brown meat from the crab, keeping them both separate. Pick through the white meat to remove any shell and set aside in the fridge. Add the brown crab meat to a blender, blitz until smooth then transfer to a bowl
To make the crab mayonnaise, mix together the egg yolks, blended brown crab meat and lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Slowly drizzle in the rapeseed oil, whisking continuously until emulsified
Add 3 tablespoons of the mayonnaise to a bowl with the picked white crab meat and the chopped dill. Mix together gently then cover and reserve in the fridge
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2
Remove the fennel cracker dough from the fridge and roll out thinly using a pasta machine to a thickness of 3mm. Alternatively, roll out as thinly as possible by hand. Cut into 5cm rounds, transfer to a baking tray then bake in the oven for 8 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack
To serve, scoop a quenelle of the crab mayonnaise mix onto each cracker and top with a fresh dill frond

Nathan Outlaw cooks with understated brilliance and passionate respect for primary ingredients.

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