Crab pâté

Serves 8
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This is a handy dish that you can make in advance and just serve on the table, back in its spiny crab shell or in a serving dish with hot buttered toast. Spider crab is under-rated in this country, but it's perfect for a dish like this. You will probably need to order spider crab in advance and if you have a good fishmonger, he or she might be prepared to dress it for you.

1 large (1 1/2 -2kg) spider crab or brown crab, cooked
100g extra brown crab meat (optional)
Half an onion, peeled and finely chopped
A small knob of ginger, scraped and finely grated or chopped
1tsp sweet pimenton or paprika
50ml olive oil
60ml sherry
Juice of half a lemon
50g fresh white breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-5tbsp good quality mayonnaise (see below)

To get the meat out of the crab, twist the legs and claws off, then crack them open and remove the white meat. Now turn the main body on its back and twist off the pointed flap. Push the tip of a table knife between the main shell and the bit to which the legs were attached, and twist the blade to separate the two, then push it up and remove. Scoop out the brown meat in the well of the shell and put with the leg and claw meat.

On the other part of the body remove the dead man's fingers (the feather-like, grey gills attached to the body) and discard. Split the body in half with a heavy knife. Now you need to be patient and pick out the white meat from the little cavities in the body. Add this to the rest of the meat.

Gently cook the onion, ginger and pimenton in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the sherry and brown crab meat, stir well, then add the breadcrumbs, half the lemon juice and season to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blend one-third of the mix with the rest of the olive oil in a blender, then stir it back into the mixture along with the crab or spider-crab meat. Add more lemon juice and seasoning if necessary. Spoon the mixture into a bowl, leave to cool and refrigerate for an hour.

Stir in the mayonnaise to taste and more lemon juice and seasoning if necessary. Serve spooned back into the shell, or on a serving dish, with thin slices of toast.