Hand-picked Dorset crab, cucumber, crème fraîche, rice cracker, apple and parsley oil


    For the rice crackers:

    150g rice

    vegetable oil, for deep frying

    For the crab:

    1 whole crab (approx. 1.3kg), or 500g

    pre-picked white and brown meat

    1 tbsp crème fraîche

    1 tbsp fresh mayonnaise

    1 lemon, juice only

    For the cucumber crème fraîche:

    2 cucumbers

    1 yellow pepper

    3 tbsp crème fraîche

    For the parsley oil:

    50g parsley leaves

    25g spinach

    250g good-quality rapeseed oil

    For the apple:

    4 large Bramley apples

    200ml white wine vinegar

    120g caster sugar, plus 100g for the

    pickling liquid

    2 lemons, juice only

    4 star anise

    2 Granny Smith apples

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Main serves 6

This hand-picked Dorset crab with cucumber crème fraîche, rice cracker, apple and parsley oil is pure shellfish pleasure. The way the crab is complemented by its plate mates is magical. Luckily, this beauty is on both the tasting menu and a la carte at Puro in Clevedon.

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Put the rice in a pan (do not rinse it), cover well with water and bring to the boil. Cook until it’s very overdone (about 40 minutes), adding more water as necessary. Drain and allow the rice to steam in the pan until as much water as possible has evaporated.


Transfer the rice to a blender and blend on high speed for 6 minutes. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and spread the rice evenly over it to a thickness of 1cm, then leave it to dry completely (you can put it in the oven at the lowest temperature to help it).


When dry, heat a couple of centimetres of oil in a heavy-based, high sided pan to 150C for deep frying. Break the dried rice into pieces about 10cm big and deep fry in batches until golden brown (around 1 minute), removing from the oil with a slotted spoon and draining on a plate lined with kitchen paper.


If using a whole live crab, put it into the freezer for 10 minutes to put it to sleep. When ready, pull open the tail plate of the crab then insert a skewer into the body to kill it instantly. Bring a pot of very salty water to a rolling boil and simmer the crab for 12 minutes per kg. Remove and set aside to cool.


Pick the meat from the legs, body and head, being careful to remove the dead man’s fingers, then pick through to remove any shell. (Alternatively, you can pick up good quality hand-picked brown and white crab meat from a reputable fish mongers.)


Put the crab meat (about 12 tbsp) into a bowl with the crème fraîche and fresh mayo. Add the lemon juice and some sea salt to taste.


For the cucumber créme fraîche, de-seed the cucumbers and pepper and blend the flesh in a food processor, then pass through a fine sieve. Add the crème fraîche to the purée and whisk. Season again with salt and lemon juice.


For the parsley oil, bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Put the parsley leaves and spinach into the boiling water and blanch for 10 seconds then refresh in the ice water. When cool, wrap the leaves in a tea towel and squeeze until completely dry. And to a blender and blend with the rapeseed oil until smooth.


For the apple purée, peel, core and chop the Bramley apples into small chunks, then place in a pan with 120g caster sugar and the juice of the lemons. Cook for 12-15 minutes until the apple becomes translucent and cooked down. Blend until smooth and leave to cool.


For the pickled apple, make a pickling liquor with the white wine vinegar, sugar, 100ml water and the star anise. Bring to boil then remove from the heat and cool.


Peel the Granny Smith apples and cut across the midsection for 3cm-thick slices. Take out the middle with an apple corer and place into the pickling liquor.


Pile 3 tbsp of the crab meat onto each plate, then place a rice cracker on top. Put the pickled apple slice on top. Mix the parsley oil with the cucumber crème fraîche slightly to split it, and pour around the crab meat. Squeeze small droplets of apple sauce over.


We like to garnish with wild borage flowers, mallow flowers, sweet cicely, apple dice and nasturtium leaves, or whatever is available at the time.

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