Char-grilled broad bean and crab bruschetta

Char-grilled broad bean and crab bruschetta

The Natural Cook
Laura Edwards

Cooking crab on a barbecue intensifies its flavours and tastes so damn good! This is one of my favourites. If you don’t have a barbecue, boil your crab instead.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Char-grilled broad beans, (1kg+)
1 live crab
3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
6 slices sourdough bread
1 garlic clove
extra virgin olive oil


  1. Light the barbecue if you have one and allow the coals to become white hot, then to cool down a little.
  2. Meanwhile, to kill the crab humanely, turn it on its back and lift the triangular- or wedge-shaped flap. Beneath it you will find a small hole roughly in the middle of the body. Firmly drive a small knife into the hole straight down until it meets the upper shell.
  3. Place the crab shell-side down on the white-hot coals and leave for eight minutes. Flip the crab and leave for another eight minutes. Remove it from the barbecue and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  4. If you’re boiling the crab instead, cook it in a very large pan of salted water at a rolling boil, allowing crabs up to 1 kg 10–12 minutes, plus three or four minutes more for every extra 500 g.
  5. To pick the crab meat, pull off the legs and claws. Crack them open with a rolling pin or pestle and pick out the meat with the handle of a teaspoon or a small knife. Now prise the main shell from the body. Discard the gills, which look like pointy fingers. Spoon the delicious brown meat from the shell. Cut the body in half with a heavy knife or cleaver and pick out the white meat from all the little crevices.
  6. Mix all the brown and white crab meat with the broad beans, parsley and lemon juice.
  7. Toast the bread on the barbecue or in a griddle pan until it colours slightly on both sides. Rub with garlic and extra virgin oil and top with the crab mixture.


  • Crab shell soup: If you have boiled your crab, place its shell in a large saucepan. (The shell of a char-grilled crab will not be suitable to make soup.) Add 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped fennel bulb, cover with water and simmer for two hours. Strain the stock through a colander into a bowl. Remove any large claws and thick bits of shell. Return the rest of the shell and veg to the empty pan. Smash with a rolling pin to break it all up and return the stock. Stir and return to the boil, then pass everything through a sieve into a clean saucepan, pressing down to get as much of the crab goodness through the sieve as you can. Season and serve hot with crusty bread.

    Chorizo with crab and broad beans: Barbecue some cooking chorizo, slice and stir into the crab mixture before topping the bruschetta.


  • The bruschetta is best eaten immediately, but the crab topping mixture and the char-grilled broad beans will keep for three days in sealed containers in the fridge. Return both to room temperature to serve.
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