This is a rather messy and time-consuming start to a dinner party but one which is sure to break the ice. Don’t forget to pick the meat out of the shell from above the legs. The lovely, garlicky mayonnaise is the perfect partner.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- A dozen or so Velvet Swimming Crabs (allow 1 or 2 per person, depending on their size)
For the Garlic Mayonnaise
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed to a paste with a little salt
- 2 small anchovy fillets (optional)
- 2 very fresh egg yolks
- 1 heaped tsp English mustard
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
- A small pinch of sugar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 100 ml olive oil
- 200 ml groundnut oil
- Brown bread
- Unsalted butter
- Lemon wedges
How to Make It
- Put the Crabs into the freezer for half an hour – small crustaceans like these perish quickly in boiling water so this is long enough to make them insensible.
- Meanwhile, make the garlic mayonnaise: in a bowl, mash the garlic with the anchovies, if using, then mix in the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, sugar and seasoning. Start adding the oils, a few drops at a time, whisking constantly, until the mayonnaise starts to emulsify. Then add the rest in a thin stream, beating well all the time. (Or, put everything except the oils into a food processor and process until smooth, then with the motor running, add the oils slowly through the funnel until you have a thick, glossy mayonnaise.) Adjust the seasoning and, if the mayonnaise seems too thick, thin it slightly with a little warm water. Cover and chill until needed.
- Bring a large pan of well-salted water to the boil (allow 10 g salt per litre of water). Drop the Crabs into the boiling water and cook them for 5 minutes. Remove the Crabs and allow to cool.
- Serve the Crabs with thinly sliced brown bread and butter, lemon wedges and garlicky mayonnaise.