One of the wonderful things about our admittedly variable British summer is the fabulous produce available, harvested not only from the land but also the sea. Crab is for us one of the highlights and there is nowhere in the world that can better the sweet, delicate crabmeat that is found in the waters off our coastline.
Some people adore both the white and brown meat, others like me are more inclined towards the white. They are very different, the brown intense, rich, strongly flavoured and with a much softer texture. I find it useful in pate or a crab tart. The white, however is just so light, fragrant, flavourful and sweetly delicious. It is wonderful with asian flavours; equally good with just a squeeze of lemon and a little salt and pepper. Here I am making the most of it but combining it with a small amount of mayonnaise (more for the sticking quality than anything else!), enhancing it with a little chilli and marrying in some herbs that partner the crabmeat beautifully without in any way overpowering it. The crab must and does remain the star of the show.
Try these little toasts for a simple but spoiling lunch alongside your favourite chilled summer soup or they are great with my garden gazpacho.
3 slices of white sourdough bread, a classic loaf shape if you can find it
2 tubs white crabmeat
1 red or green chilli
Handful of chives, finely chopped
Fennel fronds, finely chopped
1 lemon, rind and juice
4 teaspoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
Finely chop about half of the chilli. Put the crabmeat into a bowl and add all the other ingredients. Go easy on the lemon juice, add it to taste. Check the seasoning.
Just before serving toast the bread. Pile on the crab and cut off the crusts. Slice into fingers, about three from each slice so you can adjust the amount on the last piece as you want to end up with eight pieces.