Moorish crab salad with avocado and tahini

Moorish crab salad with avocado and tahini

By
From
Botanical
Serves
4
Photographer
William Meppem

A trip to Singapore, where I devoured many pepper or chilli crabs, got me thinking about crab with spices. I had never discovered the joys of crab served this way until I moved to Australia. In England the crab is usually served pretty simply, but the more robust Australian crab meat can take stronger flavours. This crab salad is a delicate summery dish which gets its spicing from Mediterranean flavours and a homemade harissa. Harissa is not as difficult to make as you might imagine, and, once tried, you will never buy the packet version again. Make more than you need for this recipe, as it has many uses and can be stored easily.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250ml Gazpacho jelly
150g Harissa
1 quantity Dukkah tuille
1 large, very ripe avocado
125ml Tahini yoghurt
1 bunch spring onions, white part only, finely sliced
1 bunch coriander, leaves shredded
generous pinch see method for ingredients, ground cumin
1/2 lemon, juiced
pinch salt
150g hand-picked fresh mud crab meat
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
1 punnet micro coriander leaves
or small coriander leaves

Method

  1. Prepare the gazpacho and harissa 24 hours in advance.
  2. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  3. Spread the dukkah tuille mixture as thinly as possible over a stencil and transfer onto a nonstick baking mat, preparing 6–8 tuille in order to get 4 perfect ones. Bake for 11 minutes until goldenbrown. Allow to cool and store layered between greaseproof paper in an airtight container until required.
  4. Peel and stone the avocado and crush it with a fork. Add 1 tablespoon of tahini yoghurt and mix to a thick guacamole consistency, then add spring onions, coriander, cumin, lemon juice and salt. Refrigerate until required.
  5. To assemble, choose deep, individual serving bowls. Place a 6 cm biscuit cutter in the bottom of a bowl and put a large tablespoon of avocado mixture inside the centre. Smooth over until the avocado is flat and even, then add a large tablespoon of harissa and spread over the avocado. Top with fresh crab meat. Carefully remove the biscuit cutter, pour some gazpacho around the mound and drizzle with olive oil. Spoon a little tahini yoghurt over the crab, sprinkle with nigella seeds and coriander, and serve with a dukkah tuille.

Chef’s note

  • When choosing mud crabs always pick them up to judge how heavy they are. The heavier the better. Some crabs look very lively and fresh yet are very light, and when you cook them you discover their ratio of size to meat is poor. This is because crabs do not eat once they have been caught, so they start to feed off themselves and their body weight shrinks.

    To make the stencil for the dukkah tuille draw your desired shape onto a plastic lid – for example an ice-cream container – and cut it out with scissors. Spread the mixture thinly over the stencil, which is resting on a baking mat, then peel off the stencil. Continue until you have sufficient biscuits then bake, remembering to remove the stencil first. Baking mats are readily available in catering equipment stores and are also known as sil-pads (silicone hot pads).
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restaurant
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Botanical
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