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Crab in a lemon and herb butter cannelloni

May 18, 2012

Fresh, sweet crab encased in a herby, lemon butter crust,best when smeared
on a warm white crusty roll
I've only recently been reintroduced to crab after being put off it as a child, having been given a spoon of brown sludgy stuff peppered with bits of broken shell. After the tasting for our wedding menu, I was delightfully enlightened with a dish of beautifully soft white crab meat. This is my take on a posh potting of crab, encased in a herby seasoned butter, ready to be sliced and squashed into fluffy, warm bread.

Recipe:

Make enough for 4 starter servings.

120g white crab meat
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp dill
salt and pepper
100g salted butter
1 lemon
1 tsp tarragon

First make your butter cannelloni sheet by warming the butter in a microwave for 20 seconds just to soften it but not melt it. Give it a light whip, nothing like you would do for cake icing, but enough to make it movable and smooth. Grate in all the zest from the lemon then cut in half and squeeze in the juice, sprinkle over 1 tsp of the dill and all of the tarragon.

Now on a piece of greaseproof paper spread out your butter so that it is about half a centimetre thick. Try to make it as even as you can, you want to have a large rectangle that you can eventually roll into a sausage.

Set the butter sheet in the fridge to harden, now to mix up your crab filling. Place the crab meat into a bowl and break any large chunks into small strands. Pop in your mayonnaise, the rest of the dill and a little salt and pepper, mix well and taste before adjusting the seasoning.

Pop the crab, covered, in the fridge until the butter is firm. To make you finished cannelloni, place your butter sheet on a flat surface then pile a sausage of crab mix into the centre and along the length of the sheet, as if you were making a sausage roll.

Now roll up your cannelloni, when you have a good but not entirely perfect shape, roll the greaseproof paper in tin foil. This will make the sausage more rigid and conduct the heat from your palms through to the butter to melt it into a smooth tube shape. Roll the foil tube on a flat surface until you are happy with the shape, though not more than for a few minutes or the butter will melt completely and you will never achieve a perfect sausage!

Pop the foil sausage into the fridge for at least half an hour for it to completely set, then slice with a warm, sharp knife and serve alongside a warm, crusty bread roll as a brilliant starter or light lunch.


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