Spanner crab and fennel consommé with soft herbs

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 2 live spanner crabs (750gm each), killed humanely
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1½ each onions and carrots, diced
  • 2 litres (8 cups) fish stock
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, dry-roasted
  • 200 gm minced chicken
  • ½ celery stalk, diced
  • 4 eggwhites
  • To season: Tabasco
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • To serve: soft herbs, such as chervil and coriander
01   Cook crab in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until cooked through (13-15 minutes). Drain, cool slightly, remove meat from bodies and claws and refrigerate until required. Coarsely pound shell in a mortar and pestle.
02   Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add fennel, 1 diced onion and 1 diced carrot and stir over medium-high heat until very tender (5-10 minutes). Add crab shell, stir to combine, then add stock, wine, tomato, garlic and fennel seeds and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low-medium, skim scum from surface and cook until stock is well flavoured (1½ hours). Strain into a clean pan (discard solids) and set aside.
03   Process minced chicken, celery, eggwhite, remaining onion and remaining carrot in a food processor until finely chopped and well combined. Whisk into crab stock, bring to the simmer over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer very gently until chicken mixture solidifies and stock becomes clear (30-40 minutes).
04   Carefully ladle stock into a sieve lined with a double thickness of muslin and placed over a clean pan, then carefully spoon chicken mixture into cloth and stand until all liquid drains (do not press solids or consommé will become cloudy; discard solids). Bring consommé to the simmer over medium heat, then season to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and Tabasco. Ladle into warm bowls, top with crab meat and herbs and serve hot.
This recipe is from the July 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Recipe:

LISA FEATHERBY

Photography:

WILLIAM MEPPEM

Styling:

LUCY WEIGHT

Drinking Suggestion:

FLORAL WHITE SANCERRE OR ADELAIDE HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC. , suggested by MAX ALLEN

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