Spider Crab With Hand Cut Chips And Sea Vegetables

1:02 am on 22 December 2009


  • 3 spiders crabs (or 2 if there’s plenty of leg meat in them) - 1 of the crabs must have a shell size of 5” x 4”
  • 2 small squid
  • 5 mussels


  • 100g brown prawns
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • Gruyère cheese
  • 1 tsp English mustard (powdered)
  • Tabasco
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper


  • 4 large Maris Piper potatoes
  • Groundnut oil for deep frying
  • 1 lemon for zest

Sea vegetables (use substitutes if below are not available)

  • Marsh Samphire
  • Sea Kale
  • Sea Beet
  • Sea Campion
  • Purslane
  • Salad Burnet
  • 3 Mint flowers


  • bowl of ice water
  • mortar and pestle
  • small hammer (not crab cracker) for breaking shells
  • extra tea towels
  • large wok


Blitz prawns, onion, carrots and celery, put in pot with 1 litre of water.

Take meat out of crab and put aside, add waste crab shells and meat to the pot.

Simmer stock for 30 minutes.

Cook squid and muscles, dry, then chill in fridge.

Fry samphire, dry, then chill in fridge.

Make a roux, use stock to bring it to sauce consistency.

Season, using Tabasco, English mustard (powdered and mixed), salt and pepper, Gruyère cheese.

Pack crab meat into crab shell until nearly full.

Spoon sauce over crab meat.

Cook at 160°C for 15 minutes then sprinkle more Gruyère cheese over crab meat and grill to brown top.

Chips (Chips are Heston’s recipe)

Cut large chips, rinse under cold water, Boil till par cooked then drain, dry, and chill in fridge.

Fry at 130°C till slightly coloured, drain and cool.

Final fry of chips at 190°C.


Serve on a large oval or round plate with a wide brim (so that there is a white frame around the food).

Make a small pile of samphire in the middle of the plate.

Place the other sea vegetables in a ring around it forming a wreath (all the leaves facing the same way).

Place the flowers, squid and muscles randomly around the plate.

Place the hot crab shell on top of the samphire.

Put the chips into a separate bowl and serve on the side, season.

John Hawkesby’s wine recommendation

Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc
Allen Scott 2009

Champagne Cattier Premier Cru Brut N.V.

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