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Crustaceans

 Soft-Shell Crab Salad with Green Goddess Dressing 

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Crabs:

Softshell Crab cleaned and rinsed

2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon crab boil seasoning

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Vegetable oil, for frying

2 cups all-purpose flour

Green Goddess Dressing:

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 lemon, juiced

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

3 anchovy fillets

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

2 bunches watercress trimmed

1 head bibb lettuce trimmed and hand torn

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 hard-boiled egg

Lemon wedges, for serving

Method

1. To make the green goddess dressing: Simply puree the ingredients together in a blender, until light green and creamy. Cover and stick the dressing in the fridge to allow the flavours to come together.

2. To prepare the soft-shell crabs: Pour the buttermilk in a shallow bowl large enough to hold all the crabs. Season the buttermilk with crab boil seasoning, salt, and pepper.

3. Lay the crabs in the buttermilk mixture and marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 hour; soaking the crabs in buttermilk helps plump them up when cooked. Remove the crabs from the milk bath and let the excess drip off.

4. Pour 2 inches of oil in a heavy  frying pan or large pot and heat to 180°C

5. Put the flour in a pie dish or plate and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper.

6. Dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour to coat, shaking off the excess.

7. Lay the crabs in the hot oil in a single layer without crowding; you may have to fry them in batches. Be careful, the crabs have a tendency to pop and spatter. Cook the crabs for about 3 minutes on each side, turning once, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

8. Assemble the salad: combine the watercress, lettuce, and onion slices in a mixing-bowl. Pour in 1/2 cup of the  green goddess dressing, tossing to coat. Arrange the salad on a serving platter, put the fried crabs on top, and grate the hard-boiled egg over the whole thing.

9. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.

 

Panko-Dusted Soft Shell Crabs with Spicy Mayonnaise Drizzle 

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Softshell Crab cleaned

1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade

2 tablespoons ground chilli paste (recommended: Sambal Oelek)

1 teaspoon hot pepper sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying   

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons Essence, plus more for garnishing

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

 

2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnishing

Method

1. In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, chilli paste, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Set aside while you prepare the crabs.

2. Heat at least 4 inches of oil in a large heavy saucepan or deep-fryer to 180°C

3. Combine the flour and half of the Essence in a shallow bowl. Stir to blend well. In another shallow bowl whisk the eggs and milk together with the remaining Essence. Place the panko in a third shallow bowl.

4. Dredge each crab first in the flour, shaking to remove any excess, then in the egg wash, and finally in the panko. Set aside on a plate while you prepare the remaining crabs.

5. When the oil has reached the desired temperature, fry the crabs, 1 at a time, until golden brown and crispy on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain while you fry the remaining crabs.

6. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the Spicy Mayonnaise around the perimeter of each of 4 dinner plates and top each plate with a crab. Garnish with the scallions and a little extra Essence around the edge of the plate. Serve immediately.

 

Char-grilled Lime and Garlic Bugs

Ingredients (Serves 4) 

8 pieces Green Bug Meat or Green Bug Tails, Halved

60 g butter, melted

2 tbsp lime juice

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp finely grated lime zest

Pineapple & Chilli Salsa

1/2 small pineapple, peeled, cored, chopped

6 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 long red chilli, seeded, sliced

2 tsp fish sauce

Method

1. Spray a barbecue or char-grill with oil. Preheat on high.

2. In a small jug, whisk together butter, juice, garlic and rind.

3. Pineapple & Chilli Salsa: In a bowl, combine all ingredients.

4. Brush bugs with butter mixture and season to taste. Barbecue for 3-5 mins, each side or until golden and cooked through. Serve bugs with salsa.

TIP: If preferred, use cooked bugs. Prepare in the same manner, brush with the butter mixture and barbecue for 1-2 mins to heat through and colour. Drizzle with any leftover butter mixture, if liked, or remove flesh and toss through salsa.

 

Halved Bugs in Garlic Butter

Ingredients (Serves 2)

3 Whole Green, Bugs

3 cloves garlic

40g butter

splash of white wine

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

coriander or flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

sea salt and cracked black pepper

Method

1. Preheat bbq to high. Prepare the bugs by slicing them in half lengthways and under cold-water rinse out the soft brown innards near the head.

2. Puree the garlic, butter and wine, then stir though the spring onion, herbs, salt and pepper. Smear a good dollop of the butter on the flesh side of each bug.

3. BBQ the bugs starting with the flesh-side up to melt the butter through for about 1-2 minutes, then turn them over and scorch the flesh side for another minute. Serve while hot with a simple salad.

 

Bug meat & avocado salad

Ingredients (serves 6) 

12 pieces Green Bug Meat

2 tbs olive oil

2 baby cos, outer leaves discarded

3 avocados, halved

1 bunch watercress, sprigs picked

Dressing

1 garlic clove

1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Preheat a barbecue or char grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush bugs with oil and season with salt. Cook, turning once, for 6-8 minutes until just cooked through and golden on the outside. Rest, loosely covered with foil, while you make dressing.

2. For the dressing, pound garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle until a paste. Add lemon juice and mustard, then slowly add oil, stirring, until combined. Season with pepper.

3. Halve the bugs lengthways, then toss in a large bowl with the dressing. Add the lettuce and toss to combine. Spoon in the avocado flesh, add watercress and toss gently with your hands. Divide salad among 6 plates and serve.