The Spider Crab is a well sought after ingredient in many countries. In Asian cuisine the spider crab will be the king of the table at a banquet, in North America Alsakan fishermen will risk their lives to be able to land king spider crabs. They are abundant in Cornish Waters, if you go for a snorkel in the summer they are one of the most likely forms of sea life that you will encounter. However we don’t see them on many menus’s or in many shops here in the UK.
I read a stat that said 95% of spider crabs caught here in Cornwall are exported to abroad. I think that here in the UK we just do not know what do with a spider crab and how to get at it’s meat, there is alot of effort that has to be put into cooking and picking crab meat and even more so for a spider crab. However with them been so abundant on our shores we have the opportunity to be eating one of the jewels of the sea fresh from Cornish Fishing boats . I was lucky enough to come across some already picked spider crab white meat from the Wednesday market in Truro .The Cornish Food Box also had their first Cornish Early’s of the year in their shop along with some loverly looking leeks, so the challenge was on to make the most of this produce.
Spider crab meat is sweeter and more meaty than brown crab. It is not as flaky and white but more dense and succulent. I wanted to make a recipe that would do the crab meat justice, something that would elevate the freshness and sweetness of the crab in an elegant a sophisticated manner.
Take the leeks and top and tail them. Push the centres out of them with your finger so that you are only left with the outer skin. Keep the centre parts as we will be putting them into the spider crab mix.
Spider Crab Mix
Take the left over leek and mandolin into a buttered pan on a low heat. Cook the leeks until they are soft and remove from the pan. In the same pan add the whiting fillets and cook until just cooked through. Remove from the heat. Take the 2 medium potatoes and boil. Once cooked mash them up.
Take the leeks, potatoes, whiting and spider crab and mix together in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of butter and creme fresh. I had some dehydrated wild garlic, carrot and kombu seaweed that I added to them mix however these are not essential, you can add your own garden herbs if you wish. Season with salt.
Stuff The Leeks
Take the mixture and with a teaspoon push the mixture into the leeks. Keep on doing this until they are stuffed.
Portion the leeks
Take the Stuffed Leek and with a sharp Knife slice the leeks into sushi sized pieces. If you wish you can leave the leek whole and steam.
Cooking the leeks
Take the leek pieces and fry them in a hot pan. You want them to go crispy on the bottom and top . You have to make sure they are cooked as the leek needs to be cooked through.
Another method is to take the whole stuffed leek and to steam it, again making sure that the leek is cooked through.
Put the Cornish New potatoes into boiling salted water. Cook until they are at your liking. Remove from the pan
Arrange the potatoes with the Leek pieces . Put a knob of butter on top of the Cornish News along with a sprinkle of sea salt. I also added a garnish of dehydrated wild garlic powder.
Everything in this meal compliments one another. The meal centres around bringing out the natural sweetness of the stars of the show the spider crab and the Cornish New potatoes. The butter and salt will elevate the new potatoes. The leeks, butter, potatoes and whiting all work within the spider crab mix to enhance its flavour and sweetness. The caramelisation of the leeks pieces also adds another element of sweetnness and texture to the dish. I really like this dish because it revolves around just gently complementing amazing luxurious Cornish Flavours. It does taste stunning and the spider crab and leek pieces are so moorish .
I hope you enjoyed this recipe, next time you see some spider crab for sale try it out.