You might think of crab meat as a very delicate thing, not suited to the rough and tumble of vinegar, mustard, chilli and other deviling ingredients – but it has a robust depth that can easily hold its own in a dish like deviled crab.
Baking the crab in its shell gives you the bonus of an extra shot of flavour. Crustacean shells are formed from concentrated proteins and sugars, and the heat of the oven causes them to release a nutty, rich flavour.
This can be made in advance for the same day and kept ready to bake from fridge to oven to table. Instead of using spider crab I use pasteurised or fresh crab meat ready picked as saves huge amount of time : 450 g (1 lb) and serves 4 generous gratin dishes as a starter.
Give it a go yourself with our Deviled Crabs recipe here:
You will need:
- 50f unsalted butter (plus a little extra for the breadcrumbs)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 100ml sherry
- 2tbsp cider vinegar
- 1tbsp Worschester sauce
- 1 heaped tsp English mustard
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 200ml double cream
- 450g fresh crabmeat (white or brown)
- lemon juice
- 50g white breadcrumbs
- salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5.
Put a large, heavy based pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Toss in the chopped onion and cook gently until softened but not coloured – around 10 minutes. Pour in the sherry, let it boil for a few seconds, then add vinegar and Worchester sauce and let it all come to a boil.
Stir in the mustard and cayenne pepper, then pour in the double cream. Cook this for about 2 minutes or until it starts to thicken slightly, then remove from heat.
Slowly fold your crab meat into the cream sauce. Season to your taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Spoon the mixture into individual gratin dishes. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs until covered, and dot a little butter on top.
Place the dishes onto a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden and the crab is bubbling up underneath.
Serve piping hot, with doorsteps of heavily buttered toast & a fresh green salad.
Deviled Crab Perfection!