Try this dish from seafood expert and top chef Nathan Outlaw.

A lot of people turn their nose up at brown crab meat. For me though, it’s special. It’s the part of the crab that has the most flavour and it’s very versatile. In this dish I use it to make a custard that almost has the texture of a fine pâté. It works so well with the crab cakes, and the radishes lend a lovely crunchy contrast.

Serves 4


  • Crab cakes
  • 300g fresh white crab meat, picked
  • 50g fresh brown crab meat, sieved
  • Light rapeseed oil for cooking
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 100g white breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Cornish sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Crab custard:
  • 1 ½ sheets of bronze leaf gelatine (4g each)
  • 2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 150g brown crab meat
  • 30ml brandy
  • 200ml double cream
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Radish salad:
  • 12 breakfast radishes, trimmed
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp chopped chervil leaves
  • To serve:
  • Lemon wedges


1. To make the crab cakes, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of rapeseed oil. When hot, add the shallots, garlic and chilli and cook for 2 minutes, without colouring. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

2. Put the white and brown crab in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and egg. Mix well, then add the shallot mixture and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste; mix again. Shape the mixture into small fish cakes, place on a tray and refrigerate.

3. For the custard, put the gelatine in a shallow bowl of cold water to soak. Heat a pan with a drizzle of oil. When it is hot, add the shallots and cook for 1 minute, then add the brown crab meat and brandy and cook for another minute. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the cayenne and lemon juice. Immediately drain the gelatine leaves, squeeze out excess water and add them to the blender. Blend for 30 seconds and taste for salt, adding more if desired. Pour the crab mixture into a piping bag (or into a bowl and cover), then place in the fridge for 1 hour to set.

4. For the salad, chop the radishes and place in a bowl. For the dressing, whisk the lemon juice with the sunflower oil and ½ tsp salt, then use to dress the radishes. Toss through the chervil.

5. When ready to serve, pipe (or spoon) the crab custard into 4 small dishes. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 180°C. Deep-fry the crab cakes, in batches if necessary: lower them into the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes until golden. Remove and drain on a tray lined with kitchen paper.

6. Place a crab custard and some radish salad on each plate. Pile the crab cakes onto the plates and finish with a drizzle of the lemony dressing from the radishes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Recipe taken from Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen (Quadrille, £20)

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