Grilled crab shells

Grilled crab shells

Cabana The Cookbook
Martin Poole

In Brasil, you’ll find the classic bar snack of grilled crab (casquinha de siri) served in scallop or crab shells – real or plastic – but you can just as easily use a ramekin. The siri crab is common in Brasil, but any fresh white crab meat can be used for our recipe. It’s best finished with a squeeze of lime to cut through the melted cheese and bring out the flavour of the crab. Serve with a side salad and an ice-cold beer as a summery starter.


Quantity Ingredient
300-400g fresh white crab meat
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons coconut milk, mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 large plum tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
60ml white wine
15g desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon english mustard
1 lime, juiced, plus extra wedges to serve
small handful coriander leaves, chopped
60g dried breadcrumbs
25g parmesan cheese, grated
20g butter, chilled
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pick through the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell. Cover and place in the fridge. Tear the bread into small pieces. Put it in a bowl with the coconut milk and leave to soak for about 15 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the shallot, peppers, garlic, chilli and tomato and cook for 6–8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the soaked bread and desiccated coconut and cook for 1–2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the crab meat, mustard, lime juice and coriander and season with salt and pepper. If it’s too dry, add a little more coconut milk. Spoon into 4 lightly oiled ramekins or clean scallop shells.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle them over the crab mixture. Cut the butter into very thin slices and place over the breadcrumbs. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until lightly golden brown. (If the topping isn’t browning enough, put it under the grill for 2–4 minutes). Serve hot with wedges of lime.
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