Rick Stein’s Lightly Curried Crab Mayonnaise with Lamb’s Lettuce

Serves: 4

We’ve booked our first holiday since the the government announced we could travel within the state: Rick Stein’s Bannisters at Port Stephens.

And we’re excited for plenty of reasons.

It is out first holiday since February. And we love holidays.

It’s Bannisters. We have loved staying at the two Bannisters at Mollymook and based on recommendations from friends, Port Stephens is just excellent.

We’re leaving the kids in Sydney. Love ya kiddies, though don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

And finally… Rick Stein. Enough said.

Obviously, first thing we did after booking the room was to book the restaurant. Because you just can’t beat Rick Stein at his best: fresh seafood, simplicity, from Indian to French.

So, for lunch today we chose a Rick Stein theme and kicked off with this number.

I was a little suspicious because a quick scan of the ingredients tells you it is possibly a little too simple, though the incredible simplicity is the point.

As we ate it, we couldn’t stop talking about just how wonderful it was. How simple, how French.

You could do a whole lot worse than whipping this up as a quick Saturday lunch. Or as a starter to a longer weekend lunch.

Ingredients

3 – 4 truss tomatoes
5 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
500gm fresh white crabmeat
50gm lamb’s lettuce (I used Cos though much closer substitute is baby spinach)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh wholemeal bread, to serve

Method

  1. Skin the tomatoes by plunging them into boiling water for 20 seconds. As soon as the skins split, remove and cover with cold water to prevent further cooking. Peel off the skins, slice off the top and bottom and slice thinly.
  1. Put the mayonnaise in a bowl and stir in the curry powder, lemon juice and Tabasco. Fold this mixture lightly through the crab meat and season with a little salt.
  1. Overlap a few slices of tomato into the centre of 4 small plates and season them lightly with salt. Spoon some of the crab mayonnaise on top. Toss the lamb’s lettuce (or substitute) with the olive oil and a small pinch of salt and pile alongside.
  1. A crack of pepper and serve with some wholemeal bread.

Crab Canapes

Serves: Plenty

This is a canape my mother used to serve whenever anyone came over for a lunch or a dinner, a quintessential 80s-style French number that I used to hoover down every time it was presented.

Indeed, I warmly remember going out on my parent’s boat – Whatthehell – and chowing down on dozens and dozens of these as we back-anchored to the beaches of Middle Harbour. I’m not sure if it was noticed that I consistently ate a third of them though if I had noticed I would have been annoyed. They’re that good.

The memories.

Bring forward the mid 2010s and they’re back, courtesy of Nat’s complete love for them and our collective agreement that no picnic is a picnic without this wonderful crab number.

You will never look back if you prepare these. Seriously… never… look… back.

(I seriously recommend you double the recipe which I have never not done!)

Ingredients

1 cup crab meat
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce to taste
Pepper to taste
Melba toast

Method

  1. 1. Combine all the ingredients (except the toast).
  2. Spread on the toast and serve immediately.
Butterfly Pasta with Spider Crab and Small Prawns

Antonio Carluccio’s Butterfly Pasta with Spider Crab and Small Prawns

Served with a simple salad of greens and avocado, this is Friday night covered.
Served with a simple salad of greens and avocado, this is Friday night covered.

Farfalle con Grancevola e Gamberetti

Serves 4

This is a left of centre dish and one I was slightly suspicious about; where would the flavour come from? Would it be too subtle?

The recipe is from Antonio Carluccio’s beautiful and modestly named book, ‘Pasta’. It is a wonderful book if only that all of the recipes are simple, unique, rustic and incredibly good.

I substituted Spider Crab for Blue Swimmer Crab (given that Spider Crabs are found fairly much only in the northern hemisphere) and increased slightly the quantity of both the crab and prawn.

Carluccio says to garnish with dill or parsley though the dill is the way to go; it keeps the aniseed flavour lingering longer, really pulling the whole dish together. Seriously, if you had this pasta in a top restaurant, you would not be surprised. Its simplicity and flavour is that good.

Ingredients

350gm dried medium farfalle pasta
3 tbsp finely chopped dill (or fresh flat-leaf parsley)

Sauce

250gm ready prepared (spider) crab meat
150gm small raw prawns (I used 500gm medium prawns)
1 aubergine (eggplant), peeled and cut into slices
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
150gm leeks, finely chopped (I used one leek)
1 tbsp fennel seeds
50ml White wine

Method

  1. Boil the prawns for about 2 – 3 minutes, drain and peel.
  2. Cook the aubergine in slightly salted water until soft; about five minutes. Mash.
  3. Heat the pol in a large saucepan and fry the garlic and leeks until soft; do not let them brown. Add the fennel seeds and the mashed aubergine and fry for a few minutes before adding the wine and mixing well. Cook gently for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the crab and the prawns, stir and heat through and taste for salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente.
  6. Drain well and mix with the sauce. Serve sprinkled with dill (or parsley).