Crab, avocado & rocket salad
- Preparation and cooking time
- No need to cook
- Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a starter
Native British crab is at its best from April to December, and this seasonal salad makes the most of its delicate flavour
- STEP 1
Put the crabmeat in a glass or metal bowl. Check for any shards of shell. Tip the brown crabmeat into a small bowl. Stir in the crème fraîche and ½ the lemon juice until smooth. Lightly season, then set aside.
- STEP 2
Cut the tomatoes in half, or into quarters if large. Cut the avocado in half lengthways and remove the stone. Peel off the skin, then cut into thin slices. Put the rocket, tomatoes and avocado into a large bowl. Squeeze over the remaining lemon juice and the olive oil. Season, then toss until the salad is coated with the dressing.
- STEP 3
Arrange the salad onto serving plates. Scatter over the white crabmeat, drizzle with crème fraîche dressing and serve straight away.
BUYING CRAB AND COOKING IT
WHITE MEAT: If you like white meat, buy a cock or male crab. Cock crabs have larger claws (and a higher proportion of white meat). Turn the crab over so that the carapace (the top of the crab) is in the palm of your hand. On the underside you'll see the 'apron' (tail-like piece). Males have a slim apron, females (hens) a wide one and smaller claws; they usually cost less, too.
THE WEIGHT: When buying a whole crab, whether alive or cooked, choose one that feels heavy for its size - if it's on the light side, this can indicate it's recently renewed its shell and is still growing into it.
BUYING LIVE CRAB
A live crab should be fairly active when you buy it. Keep it in the fridge for no longer than a day; prior to cooking give it a few hours in the freezer - they hibernate in the cold and will become comatose. Apart from being cruel, the shock of sudden immersion into boiling water can cause the crab to 'shoot' (lose) its claws. Remove crab from freezer, drop into boiling salted water, cook for 30 mins per kilo, cool rapidly, then dress.