For the fennel purée
5 fennel bulbs
30g/11/4oz unsalted butter
1tbsp crème fraîche or cream
A squeeze of lemon juice
For the Tabasco butter
200g/7oz unsalted butter, softened
1tbsp Dijon mustard
1tsp smoked paprika
A good squeeze of lemon juice
For the crab cakes
250g/8oz picked white crab meat
1tbsp crème fraîche
1tbsp very finely chopped coriander leaves
1tsp lime juice
A few drops of Tabasco
125g/4oz soft white breadcrumbs
125ml/4fl oz clarified butter
For the fennel purée, remove the fennel's outer leaves and chop into quarters. Place in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and cook until tender. Drain to cool, then place in a blender with the butter and the crème fraîche. Purée until smooth. Season again and add the lemon and a little more crème fraîche if you think that it needs it. Set aside.
For the Tabasco butter, place the butter in a blender. Add the mustard and a pinch of salt and whisk. Once incorporated, add the paprika and Tabasco and whisk again. Finally, add the lemon juice and whisk.
For the crab cakes, mix together all the ingredients except for the breadcrumbs and clarified butter. Season, then form into 12-16 small cakes (I allow three per person). Coat each crab cake generously with the breadcrumbs.
To serve, melt the clarified butter in a frying pan. Fry each cake for about three minutes on each side and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Reheat the fennel until hot and serve with the crab cakes and a dollop of Tabasco butter.