This weekend my Wife and I decided we wanted a seafood fest that we could put together to snack on while sitting in the sun sipping on an ice cold bottle of bubbles.
We made sure to be up nice and early so that we had the pick of the shop and the later you leave it the bigger the queue gets, so we grabbed our sunnies, dropped the roof and cruised down to Fish at Portslade in Brighton http://www.brighton-fish-sales.co.uk to grab all of our ingredients for the day.
Arriving in their parking lot we were instantly greeted with that familiar smell, which you either love or hate, of fresh fish. On entering the store you are greeted with a huge selection of sea fare, ranging from fresh tanked lobster to locally line caught fish.
A bank of freezer units line the back wall so if your particular choice is not available fresh, or you fancy something else such as calamari/whitebait, then you still won’t leave empty handed….
After much deliberating back and forth, I made my decision of a whole fresh crab, 10 decent sized scallops, 1/2kg of rope grown mussels, 1/2 kg of fresh cooked king prawns, frozen calamari, a box of garlic oil anchovies and some new crab pickers, all of which came to a tidy sum of around £31 which all in all I thought was very cheap for what we came home with.
Below is my recipe for putting together this amazingly fresh and super light seafood platter for 2, if greedy, or 4 not so greedy people.
1 fresh cooked large crab
1/2kg fresh large king prawns
250g sardines in garlic oil
2 large crushed garlic cloves
5 TBSP Mayonnaise
Fresh unsalted butter for your bread
1 or 2 part baked bread(s) or fresh baked French stick(s) for that all important crab smothering and oil dipping
Pot for Aioli
2 pots for white and brown crab meat
Chefs tips: –
This recipe can be prepped 1 day ahead and ‘any’ leftovers frozen
On a super-hot day this can also be served up on a plate/serving bowl of crushed ice with the seafood presented on top.
Glovers tipple of choice: –
Muscadet Sur Le
Champagne of choice
Cote Du Provence Rose
French beer of choice
Prep time 15 mins
Cook time 20 mins
First on the list is the crab dressing, it will already be cooked so there is no need for any pots or pans.
YouTube guide by Fish Here if you are not too confident on the process, or if you want to wing it, there is also my guide below
- The crab top, if not already loosened by your fishmonger, will come off very easily. Once removed this is where 90% of the brown meat resides.
- Remove the Dead Man’s Fingers which run along the side and close to the mouth, these are inedible so discard and bin these.
- Push the mouth in towards the shell of the crab and this will come away in once piece usually.
- Push in the side of shell on both sides using your fingers, you will see there is a natural line that it will break around.
- Remove any other remnants and membrane from the shell and around the mouth.
You are now left with all of the lush brown beat on both sides of the shell. Using the picker remove all of this meat into one pot, keeping the shell for later.
- Remove all of the legs starting with the two big front claws from their joints.
- You’re now left with the body, which at this point will have some brown meat also within it, so scrape that out into the bowl.
- Flip it over and remove the part of the jaw which is a v shaped piece by pulling it back and it will tear off, then also the front portion of its mouth, again just pull it off.
- With your sharpest knife cut the body directly in half lengthwise; a small bit of brown meat will also reside in here so scrape that out and now time to get all of the white meat.
- Using the flat part of the picker insert this into each of the leg sockets where a lot of white meat will be and put this into your white meat bowl. It will be pretty obvious once you have removed all of the white meat, as the arm sockets will then be mostly empty.
- Now for the arm meat… taking the claws and using a large knife or sharpening steel hit the back of the inside claw as this is the softer spot. Once cracked, remove all of the claw shell leaving you with the chunky claw meat and remove this from the thin membrane and brake it up into your pot.
- Next up we finish with the thighs. Now remove the 1st joint at the pointy arms as there is hardly any meat worth bothering with and leave the thigh behind while reserving two of the arms.
- Using the palm of your hand crush the thighs one at a time and remove all of the white meat for each into your pot.
Note it is acceptable as chef to taste as you go along….. 😉
You will now have a nice pot full of the beautiful rich, creamy brown meat and the divine, super tasty white meat.
Now time to get that bad boy back in its shell.
Wash out the shell under cold running water so that it is nice and clean of shell fragments and any reaming membrane.
Now it is time to dress the shell with all of your beautiful crab meat. Starting with the white meat use a spoon to remove it from your bowl (a tablespoon at a time) placing at both sides of the shell left and right.
Make sure to leave a decent gap in the middle to place the brown meat. Use your fingers or spoon to push the white meat into the side of the shell so that you have enough room for it all.
Once all the white meat is in place, using a spoon, place all of the brown meat into the middle between both sides of white.
Use the two legs that you kept aside to place over both sides of the white meat purely for presentation.
Cling film your crab until ready to plate up and keep in the fridge. This can be done a day in advance to save time.
Remove the heads from half of your prawns and keep the heads on the other half. Place back in a bowl until you are ready to plate it up.
Peal and crush two garlic cloves into a small dip bowl and add the 5tbsp of mayonnaise. Give this a good stir and leave for 10-15 before serving. This can also be done in advance as the longer it is left, the stronger the flavour.
30 mins before you want to serve, bake your bread per packet instructions, removing from the oven and cut into large chunks so that it can be served luke warm.
While the bread is cooling remove the crab, prawns, anchovies and mayonnaise from the fridge.
Place the headed prawns in one corner with the other prawns then on top of these. Place the dressed crab on the opposite side, with the mayonnaise in the middle, along with the anchovies in a bowl, or on the plate with an added few tsps. of the garlic oil ready for dipping!
Cut the lemon in half and then quarter and place this on the plate with the prawns and crab, ready to be squeezed over to order.
Pop the bubbles, uncork the wine or crack open a beer then sick back relax and enjoy your hand made Summer Seafood Platter.