Thai chilli-dressed crab with grapefruit salad
- June 2017
- Serves 4 for lunch
- Hands-on time 45-50 min
Wonderfully fresh, sweet crab makes a great partner for zesty lime and Thai chilli heat. Buy the crabs whole, crack them yourself and then serve in the shells for a luxurious summer lunch.
Cool down with more heatwave recipes.
- 21.2g (3.2g saturated)
- 7.1g (6.3g sugars)
- 4 x small (about 800g each, as in picture) or 2 x medium (about 1.2kg each) cooked crabs, or 300g white crabmeat and 150g brown
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- Juice 2 limes
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 5cm fresh ginger, grated
- Bunch coriander, leaves picked
- 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 1 ripe avocado, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
For the salad
- 100g rocket
- 1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented, juice reserved
- 1/2 cucumber, diced
- Extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle
- First prepare the crabs: put a cooked crab on a chopping board on its back. Twist off the legs and claws and set aside. Put your thumbs against the hard shell close to the tail and carefully prise the main body section away from the shell. This can require a little persistence with larger crabs.
- Discard the greyish stomach sac near the mouth. Discard the ‘dead men’s fingers’ – the long white/grey gills – which are inedible.
- Carefully remove all the white and brown meat, keeping them separate: crack the claws with a rolling pin, small hammer or nutcracker and use a skewer to pick out the meat. Check all the crevices in the body for white meat. Be careful to remove all small pieces of shell. Repeat with the other crab(s). Clean the main shells and keep for serving.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chilli, juice of 1½ limes, fish sauce, ginger, most of the coriander, chilli sauce and avocado. Stir in the white meat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir the mayonnaise and remaining lime juice into the brown meat and season with black pepper.
- For the salad, combine the rocket, grapefruit and cucumber in a bowl, then pour over the reserved grapefruit juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the 2 mixtures equally among the shells, if you have them, or spoon onto plates. Garnish with the remaining coriander and serve with the salad.
Keep the paper the crabs usually come wrapped in and spread out before removing the crabmeat to minimise mess. A rolling pin is ideal to break open the claws. This recipe works brilliantly as a canapé too. Spread the brown crabmeat on thin pieces of sourdough, then top with the dressed white meat. Squeeze over lime and serve straightaway.
Half the recipe will be enough for about 30 canapés.
This dish is best eaten straightaway but you can remove the crabmeat a few hours before. Store the brown and white meat separately in sealed containers or non-reactive bowls covered with cling film, in the fridge. Add the seasonings and make the salad just before serving.
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