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BLUE SWIMMER CRAB WITH ZUCCHINI AND SEAWEED BUTTER

Recipe by Mark McNamara, Food Luddite

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 Blue Swimmer crabs (whole cooked fresh)
4 medium zucchinis
2 tbsp dried wakame, in fine strips
125g soft butter
½ lime, juice of and zest finely grated
1 tbsp basil leaves, shredded
pinch black pepper
½ tsp fish sauce
1 spring onion, white only, finely chopped
½ clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Seto Fumi Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning – optional)
1 punnet baby basil leaves

Method:

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to slice ribbons off of zucchini leaving the core of seeds behind to be discarded. Slice the ribbons into long strips resembling tagliatelle and sprinkle lightly with salt, cover and leave for a couple of hours.
  2. Place the salted zucchini in a colander, rinse well and allow to drain. While the zucchini is draining pick over the cooked crab, removing all the white meat and keeping the brown meat (or mustard) separate and discard the shells (there are YouTube clips to view for this process if unsure). Set the two meats aside separately in the fridge, covered.
  3. Cover half the wakame with boiling water and leave to one side to rehydrate. Powder the remaining dried wakame in a mortar and pestle then mix with a third of the butter. Put in a warm place to slowly melt. Do not use the microwave or place over a direct heat, simply allow the liquid butter to infuse with the powdered wakame for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Strain liquid butter mixture through a coffee filter extracting as much colour as possible so you end up with a small amount of green seaweed flavoured liquid butter. Combine with the brown crab meat and press this mixture through a fine sieve. Set aside (do not refrigerate) while you prepare the next step.
  5. Lightly cream the remaining butter, stir in the lime juice then add the zest, shredded basil, spring onion, garlic and fish sauce. Check the seasoning then add the ‘brown meat butter’ and drained rehydrated wakame (squeezed dry). Keep at room temperature. (If using another day, refrigerate but allow it to soften before using.)
  6. To serve, warm a third of the butter mixture gently in a large pan, add the raw zucchini strips and warm gently. Do not allow to sizzle or boil. In a separate pan, melt half of the remaining butter mixture and when it has just formed a liquid, add the white crab meat and similarly warm the crab meat through. When both the crab and zucchini are warm, fold together gently and portion into pre-warmed pasta bowls.
  7. Melt remaining butter and spoon over and around ‘crab pasta’ before lightly sprinkling with Seto Fumi Furikake (optional) and baby basil leaves.
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