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starters; Crab and asparagus.

INGREDIENTS SERVES 6 1 large live brown crab, about 1kg, placed in the freezer for 30 minutes before cooking Salt For the asparagus mousse: 3 sheets of bronze leaf gelatine, soaked in ice-cold water 25g unsalted butter 325g asparagus spears, trimmed of any woody parts 150ml double cream For the mayonnaise: 2 large egg yolks 1tbsp brown crab meat (from the crab above) Juice of 1 lemon 300ml light olive oil Cornish sea salt and freshly ground pepper For the asparagus salad: 12 asparagus spears, trimmed of any woody parts 1tbsp chopped chervil 40ml agrodolce vinegar 100ml good-quality olive oil DIRECTIONS First make the asparagus mousse: Soak the gelatine in a shallow dish of ice-cold water to soften.

Meanwhile, place a large pan over a medium heat and add the butter. When melted and starting to bubble, add the asparagus and cook for about three minutes until it softens and starts to collapse. Pour in the cream, bring to a simmer and cook for three minutes. Season with salt to taste. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine then add it to the asparagus mixture.

Immediately tip the contents of the pan into a blender and blend for two minutes until smooth. Transfer to a jug. Pour the mixture into six serving dishes and put in the fridge to set.

To cook and prepare the crab, bring a large pan of water (big enough to hold the crab fully submerged) to the boil. Season the water generously with salt, to make it as salty as sea water. Once it comes to a rolling boil, lower the crab into the water and cook for 14 minutes.

Carefully lift the crab out of the pan, place on a tray and leave until cool enough to handle. Remove all the legs and claws from the cooked crab by twisting them away from the body. Now, holding the crab in both hands, use your thumbs to push the body up and out of the hard, top shell or carapace. Remove and discard the dead man's fingers, stomach sac and hard membranes from the body shell. Using a spoon, remove the brown crab from the carapace and place in a bowl (you won't need it all for this dish, so save to eat on toast or freeze it). Cut the body in half, using a sharp knife, to reveal the little channels of white crab meat. Use a crab pick or the handle of a spoon to pick out all the crab meat from these crevices and put it into a separate bowl.

Using a heavy knife, break the claws with one hard tap, if possible, and pick out the white meat, prising out the cartilage from the middle of the claw. Do the same with the legs to extract the meat. Once you have extracted all the white meat, with clean hands, pick through it to search for any shell or cartilage. Refrigerate if preparing ahead.

To make the mayonnaise: Place the egg yolks, brown crab meat and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly until it is all incorporated.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add enough of the mayonnaise to the white crab meat to combine.

To make the asparagus salad: Carefully slice the asparagus spears lengthways on a mandoline. Add the chopped chervil and dress well with the agrodolce vinegar and olive oil, but don't overdo it (the dressing will soften the asparagus).

To assemble and serve, take the asparagus mousses (and crab meat if chilled) out of the fridge 20 minutes before serving. Top each mousse with a pile of crab meat. Arrange the shaved asparagus salad on top and serve.

l Restaurant Nathan Outlaw by Nathan Outlaw, photography by David Loftus, is published by Bloomsbury Absolute, priced PS45.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Press and Journal (Aberdeen,Scotland)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Apr 27, 2019
Words:645
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