I went to my usual grocery store yesterday, hoping to find some organic discounted vegetables before the closing hour (Ssshhh... Don't tell!), as I was feeling like making a healthy steam-fry vegetable dish.
Since, in my garden the only vegetables growing are kale and cabbages, and some dandelions, it is quite difficult to make a meal out of it. As I was foraging amongst the baskets on display (truly feeling like a caveman hunting for food, aware of the onlooking eyes on the same spot as I was – Does that mean I truly went Paleo?), and not finding much, I venture deeper into the store (the SabreTooth is near, I can feel it), I stumbled across a pre-packed food in the fish display. It was a couple of over-priced large stuffed crab with a golden-brown crumble-like crust.
I did not even look at the label, not really sure I wanted to read the probably extensive list of ingredients, which less face it, some have nothing to do in such an appetising meal idea.
So this morning I woke up, went to my fishmonger and ask them for Crab shells, which they had not. So I bought 2 crabs and 200 g of fresh crabmeat.
On the way back home, my head was still busy trying to put a recipe together, that would be yummy, healthy and light, but filling. Then, passing in front of the street market and looking at the exotic vegetable stall, with loads of fresh Coriander, Chilli, Ginger, and other vegetables – that to be honest I don't even know the name... Picked some of each and carried on along the market, and picked farmed-grown tomatoes. I knew there and then, I would go Thai or Japanese, with bold flavours, but still wanted a mediterranean twist, such as using lemon or lime, and garlic in a velvety white cream sauce.
Try this recipe, it is simply exquisite!!!
Recipe for 2 crabs:
2 large Crabs
200 g Crab meat
1 Stalk of Celery
1 Red and Green Thai Chilli
1/3 Bunch of fresh Coriander
Spicy Yuzu Seasoning (available in most asian supermarket)
For the Sauce:
200 ml Milk, or any unsweetened milk-alternative
1 Tsp Corn flour (or Arrow Root, or Potato Starch)
1 Pinch of Nutmeg
Grated Lemon Zest (or Lime)
A drop of White Wine
For the Crust:
150 g Panko Japanese Breadcrumbs (or chopped Cashew Nuts)
Seaweed Salt (or Powdered Nori Seaweed)
Spicy Yuzu Seasoning
If you are not comfortable with cleaning crabs, or just don't know how to go about it, you can ask your fishmongers for either empty shells (and buy 100 g more crab meat), or to clean them for you.
Make sure the shells are well cleaned, and look presentable to put on a plate (you may also want to dry them in your oven for 5 mins on 100˚c). Also make sure to take out all pieces of shells/hard residues from the meat you have extracted from the main body, legs and claws. To do so, rub little bits of crab meat together between your fingers. You may want to keep some in the fridge while working on a little at the time, keeping the crabmeat as little as possible between your fingers to not cook/heat it. Even prepared crabmeat may contain hard and sharp parts, and should be checked thoroughly.
Grate Lemon or lime zest and set aside.
Once all is done, put in a bowl and squeeze lemon juice over, some seasoning, including freshly cracked Black Pepper, brunoise Tomatoes and Celery, and finely chopped Chillis. cover and let to marinate in the fridge while you are preparing the remaining of the recipe.
Bring milk to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Add White Wine. Dilute Corn Flour with 2 Tbsp of water, until you get a smooth white liquid. Incorporate progressively corn flour mix, whisking energetically to avoid creating bits, making sure to scrap all sides and bottom of pan to prevent it from burning. Keep whisking, and let to simmer for one minute. Add seasoning, nutmeg and Lemon (or Lime) Zest (keep 1/4 for for the breadcrumbs mix). Let to cool.
This is the best alternative to a Béchamel sauce, which is also much lighter, void of Butter and Wheat Flour, and if you are using your favourite Cereal Milk, is also Dairy-free.
Prepare the Panko breadcrumb mix, by adding the remaining lemon zest, a few shake of Spicy Yuzu seasoning, and seaweed. Mix well. set aside.
Take crabmeat mix out of the refrigerator and gently toss in the cooled white sauce. Roughly chop coriander and add to the mix.
Feel the Crab shell with the mix and sprinkle Panko breadcrumbs over the top.
Place in middle of oven and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180˚c (fan) or 200˚c (gas).
Once cooked, with a golden-brown crumb, take out of oven. Let to rest for 3 minutes and serve with a side salad and Lemon-Garlic-and-Corinader Bread.
It is all about FOOD™
This Blog offers an easy-to-read condensed descriptive of food groups, nutrients, and their role on our body; cooking processes; world news with major impact on food and consumers; comprehensive reviews of restaurants (Menus, Food-on-plate and Quality of Service); and easy-to-follow Exquisite recipes, as well as healthy snacks and juices.
Olivier is a Michelin trained chef, a registered Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating.