Langoustine custard, crab, dill


This elegant seafood starter from Joe Laker consists of a base of langoustine custard, topped with pickled shallots, white crab and buttermilk split with a homemade dill oil. The langoustine stock is reduced down to an intensely flavourful liquid, which forms the base of the custard.

First published in 2023




Dill oil

  • 150g of dill, leaves picked
  • 150g of vegetable oil

Langoustine stock

Langoustine custard


  • 3 shallots, diced
  • vinegar, such as white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 120g of white crab meat, cooked
  • 300ml of buttermilk


  • Thermomix
  • 8 ramekins



Begin by making the dill oil. Blend the dill with the oil in a Thermomix at 100°C for 5–7 minutes. Alternatively, first blanch the dill for 5 seconds and then blend in a regular blender with the oil until completely broken down, and the oil is bright green

  • 150g of dill, leaves picked
  • 150g of vegetable oil

Pass the oil through a fine mesh strainer or some muslin cloth, and then transfer to a container and freeze until solid. Once frozen, the water will turn to ice and sink to the bottom. The oil should stay soft and can be scraped off and set aside


Cover the diced shallot for the garnish with enough vinegar to cover and set aside

  • 3 shallots, diced
  • vinegar, such as white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Heat up plenty of oil in a large pan, and once hot add the vegetables for the langoustine stock. Cook the vegetables until browned – about 15 minutes – and then add the tomato paste and cook out for another 8–10 minutes


Add the fennel seeds and lightly toast them


Add the white wine and reduce down by half

  • 750g of white wine

Add the langoustine shells and a good pinch of salt, and brown them all over


Add enough fish stock to cover, and then bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 hours

  • fish stock, to cover

Once the stock has simmered, strain out the solids and then return to a pan. Reduce the stock to 500ml. This will take a long time, and the best way to speed it up is to use a pan with a large surface area like a deep frying pan or wok


Next make the custard. Whisk together the eggs with 200ml reduced langoustine stock and the cream. Pass the stock through a fine mesh strainer, and divide into 8 ramekins


Steam the ramekins in a bamboo steamer with the water at a bare simmer for 10 minutes, or else steam in a steam oven set to 80°C for 5 minutes. They should be set but still have a good wobble


To serve, divide the crab meat over the top of of each custard, and then add some pickled shallot over the crab. Split some buttermilk with a splash of dill oil, then spoon over the top, making sure you can still see the streaks of dill oil

First published in 2023

Joe Laker built his culinary foundations at the likes of The Black Swan, Pollen Street Social, Anglo and Fenn, before setting out on his own. Today, he shows what's possible with produce from the British Isles at his Shoreditch chef's table restaurant counter 71.

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