Chilli, gin and orange salt-baked spanner crab
SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 20 MINS // COOK 20 MINS (PLUS RESTING)
“When it comes to buying live crab, select one that is heavy, has a fresh, clean and sweet aroma, and has all its legs and claws intact,” says Susman. Pictured p107
2 whole green spanner crabs (800gm each)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 kg rock salt
500 gm Himalayan pink rock salt
6 whole dried chillies
2 tbsp juniper berries
1 tsp mixed colour peppercorns
3 cups loosely packed sage leaves 6 slices dried oranges, coarsely chopped
60 ml (¼ cup) gin
2 egg whites
250 ml (1 cup) milk
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 strips of lemon peel
80 gm soft white bread, crusts removed, coarsely torn
80 ml (1/3cup) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
Dill sprigs and chervil, to serve
1 Preheat oven to 220°C. Remove abdominal flap from crab and using your fingers, remove and discard gills. Using a crab mallet (or rolling pin), gently crack claws part way through. Drizzle exposed flesh with oil and return abdominal flap onto crab; set aside.
2 Place 200gm rock salt, chillies, juniper, peppercorns and sage leaves in a small food processor and pulse until sage and chillies are coarsely chopped. Place in a large bowl, add remaining salt, dried orange and gin and mix until combined. Add egg whites and mix to combine.
3 Spoon a third of salt mixture onto a large baking tray and spread evenly. Place crabs on top, cover evenly with remaining salt, pressing down firmly to secure. Bake crab until salt is firm and crab is cooked (20 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside to rest (10 minutes).
4 Meanwhile to make skordalia, place milk, garlic and lemon peel in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook until garlic is tender (5 minutes). Remove from heat, add bread and set aside to soak until softened (5 minutes).
5 Place in a blender and blend until smooth. With blender on, gradually add oil in a thin steady stream until smooth, add lemon juice and season to taste.
6 Serve crab at the table, crack the salt, brushing away most of it and top with chervil. Scatter skordalia with dill and serve to the side.
Note To remove the abdominal flap from the crab, insert a small knife above the tail and ease upwards.
Wine suggestion 2021 Stargazer ‘Tupelo’ Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, Derwent and Tamar Valleys, Tas.
Trout Pink oval platter, flamingo plate and blue plate from Batch Ceramics. Blue bowl from Dinosaur Designs. Kurata pourer from The DEA Store.
Coral trout with saffron and Sherry-roasted onions
SERVES 4-6 // PREP TIME 25 MINS // COOK 50 MINS (PLUS STANDING, RESTING)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 onions, thickly sliced (800gm)
250 ml (1 cup) dry Sherry
1 whole coral trout (1.5 kg), cleaned (see note)
100 gm unsalted butter, chopped 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ tsp saffron threads
500 ml (2 cups) fish stock
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 small bay leaf
2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
Baby nasturtium leaves, to serve
1 Preheat oven to 240°C. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. In two batches, add onions and cook until golden on each side (2 minutes). Place in a large roasting tray. Repeat with remaining onions. Drizzle onions with 60ml Sherry; season to taste.
2 Using a small sharp knife, score skin of trout ½cm deep in a diamond pattern. Brush with oil; season to taste. Place fish on top of onions and roast until flesh is just tender next to the bone and skin is golden and crisp (35-40 minutes). Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
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