Baked Crab – Sophie Michell

I absolutely love crab. Ive often dreamed that if I was on Saturday Kitchen then crab would be my heaven (beetroot my hell)! Whenever we go on holiday to the coast I live on crab sandwiches, it’s the law. So when watching a hidden away programme on Channel 4 called ‘Meet What You Eat,’ I was blown away by this dish, which was beautifully demonstrated by the rather striking and talented chef Sophie Michell. The ingredients and method below are from the show with small tweaks by me.

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Ive included some images of the prep, which included disembowelling said crab and extracting the luscious bounty within. My crab although a fairly decent size (from the wonderful Lanigans in Lytham St Annes) was only 750g so I halved the ingredients listed.

Ingredients

1.5 kg crab, cooked and prepped (to make 250g white crab meat and 100g of brown meat approximately). Like I mentioned In had  750g crab.
1 tbsp of clarified butter
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1tbsp diced red chilli
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp celery salt (I didn’t have any!)
½ tsp of Espelette pepper (I used normal black pepper!)
½ tsp dried oregano
½ smoked paprika
Zest of 2 limes
1 tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
1 handful of dried breadcrumbs (preferably panko)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of hollandaise
1 tsp jalapeño hot sauce (I just used diced, from a jar)
1 tsp diced jalapeños

Method

Remove the legs off the crab. They simply twist off. With the body upright and the shell towards you, prize the centre of the crab away from its shell with your thumbs. Takes a bit of effort. Remove the ‘dead mans fingers’ from the body. These are the tentacle like protrusions about an inch and half long.

imageKeep the main body shell for presentation purposes. Flick the oven on to 180 deg C.

Scoop out all the meat from inside the shell and place in a bowl. Scrape off the meat from the head you’ve extracted. Then break the claws with the back of a large knife and with a skewer scrape out the chunks of flesh (this is the main bit, don’t throw these away)!. Repeat with the legs (messy but worth doing).

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Fry the onions, chilli and garlic in the butter, along with the paprika and oregano for a couple of minutes.

Then add the crab, zest, parsley and seasoning. Give it all a stir. Finally mix in the zest, breadcrumbs and egg yolk and give it another stir.

Spoon all the meat from the pan back into the shell pressing it fully in as you go. I then mixed the hollandaise with the jalapenos and topped the crab with it.

Pop in the oven and bake for 4 minutes. Serve with toasted bread and lime wedges. I served it with a bit of poncey garnish and some lovely, buttered granary bread.

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I now have the confidence to dress my own crab. Reckon I will do a cold one with mayo next for those ultimate crab sandwiches……

Thanks to the original recipe here by Sophie Michell.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/meet-what-you-eat/articles/all/baked-crab/4159

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Baratxuri – Ramsbottom

“Another wonderfully elegant splash of Spain has wafted onto the streets of Ramsbottom!” 

The weather forecast (even for Lancashire!) was looking good. “This is it!” I motioned to long suffering companion The Flame, “Ramsbottom, here we go, I need to try Baratxuri pronto”. To explain Baratxuri is the younger sister of long time favourite Levanter (reviewed here). Both based in Ramsbottom, both the ‘brainchildren’ of Joe and Fiona, both serve up authentic Spanish cuisine of the highest quality. Levanter is billed as a tapas (small plates) bar; Baratxuri touts itself as a Pintxos (pronounced Peen cho!) bar. 

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Whereas Levanter is wonderfully rustic, Baratxuri seems to have a more elegant feel. Similar in size, galley at the back, bar to the right, the walls are clad in a patchwork of colourful Spanish tiles. A slinky jazz track buzzes in the background. We selected one of only two tables in front of the sun kissed window. Most people where then left to sit on high bar stools around a beer barrel or up to a fitted café bar. Chalked boards detail the food on offer. I reckon twenty covers would fill it. It is a fabulously, relaxing space.

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Apparently Pintxo is a Basque word that literally means a “spike”. This would explain why all the bite sized goodies on the bar where harpooned with a wooden pick. The idea is that you slink up to the bar, order your txacoli (traditional dry white wine), take a plate and fill up with the exquisite morsels. They are £3 a pop. You simply stack the picks in a glass which formulates your Pintxo bill at the end. Great way to dine.

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The spikes! of Pintxos

As well as the small bites on the bar, a small board sets out further pintxos that are ordered up hot and fresh from the kitchen. Typically £4.50 each. Sunday adds the magnificent Mariscada as a special at £35 to share. As a lover of seafood it was this special that I was particularly keen to try. The Mariscada is a forty minute wait, (though it took around fifty! for us). We settled with a couple of Pintxos to satiate our cravings, one crab and one ham and cheese. Both decidedly pleasant. I missed out on a small bucket of octopus, one of the other pintxos that came out later.

Finally having watched a couple of others come out before us, and after the tools, tomato salad and bread, our ‘feast of the sea’ was placed before us. A true sight to behold I’m sure you’ll agree?

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A dressed crab, half a lobster, sensational scallops on a bed of peppers and fennel sausage, grilled sardine, a mound of whitebait, two fabulous carabineros prawns and a bucket of lobster bisque. All piping hot and ready to go. We set about the task in hand with gusto. We picked, mopped, sucked, crunched, and slurped our way through a glorious tray of the freshest finery of the sea.

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Though not a big fan of seafood, even The Flame acknowledged the quality of presentation and value for money. We watched many people, couples and friends come and go. Some would grab a draft of Spanish beer others the wine and some pintxos, then simply move on. It all works superbly. All in we settled up at £48 pluis tip for a superb lunch. Allied to the friendly and knowledgeable staff it counts as another triumph for Joe and Fi and  yet another ‘foodie’ reason to head over to Ramsbottom. What a place this is….

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Baratxuri

1 Smithy St,
Ramsbottom,
Bury
BL0 9AT
 

01706 559090

http://www.levanterfinefoods.co.uk/baratxuri/