so on our trip to my hometown Torquay we stopped off at Brixham to go to the fishmongers. Brixham fish is famous particularly the plaice and crab. The day we went it was freezing cold and windy as we made our way along the harbour to the fish market, I was so happy to see a big live cock crab. It was the only one they had so I snapped it up straight away along with some plaice, sole and snapper. We first put the crab on the back seat of the car but as it was live and in a polystyrene box so when it moved it was like chewing cotton wool so we pulled over and moved it to the boot. As the crab made it back to East Sussex and was from Brixham I wanted to do something really special with it. I have seen lobster mac and cheese so I thought I would do the same with beautiful sweet crab meat, I wasn’t disappointed with the end result it was absolutely delicious, it definitely needed the guyere cheese to make it melty. The was a dedecant delicious dinner.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 live brown cock crab
- 150g chifferi rigati pasta (or macaroni), cooked to packet instructions
- 2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 2 anchovies, finely chopped
- 60g plain flour
- 1 pint of milk (I used skimmed)
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 70g guyere cheese, grated
- 70g cheddar cheese, grated
- 50 Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 rustic roll or 2 slices of stale bread
- small bunch of tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp truffle oil
- 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
- pinch of salt
- oil for frying
- Place the crab in the freezer so it goes to sleep I did mine for 10 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to the boil add the sleeping crab and simmer for 20 mins, drain and rinse. Set aside to let cool.
- Pre heat oven to 180 degrees fan
- Heat a drizzle of oil in a saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic and anchovies cook for a couple of minutes until the shallots are soft. Add the flour, and cook it out for 30 secs, next add the milk a bit at a time whisking until you get a medium thick sauce. Add the cheeses, cayenne and mustard, taste and season if required.
- Next pick all the meat from the crab (I used white only) add it to the cheese sauce along with the cooked pasta, if the sauce is too thick add a splash of the pasta cooking water.
- Pour the Mac n cheese into an ovenproof dish, bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- In a food processor add the bread, tarragon, truffle oil and a pinch of salt. Blitz until they resemble breadcrumbs, stir through the Parmesan.
- Once the Mac n cheese has baked for 20 mins add the breadcrumbs and cook for a further 10 mins or until they are brown and crispy.