Our Sharpham wine and crab evening in the tapas bar on May 31st had me in a bit of a flap. Slightly drunken ideas of plonking a whole cooked crab, a lemon and a pot of mayo in front of everyone and telling them to get on with it might have seemed clever at the time but that moment is probably best forgotten. So we got the creative juices bubbling and came up with a small plates menu.
I don’t know about you but I have a bit of a problem with fish. Not eating it but, however many boxes it ticks, it’s never enough. There are just too many people and not enough fish and a worldwide, ten year moratorium on catching them seems like the only answer – but sadly, it’s never going to happen. There seems to be an endless stream of bad news stories of more and more species appearing on the danger list. Add this to the effects of global warming and the ‘more plastic than fish’ by 2050 statistic and things don’t look good. In the developed world, it’s just too small a part of the pie and there are too many conflicting interests. I’m probably making assumptions but I have a certain amount of confidence in Iceland’s fishery where it’s such a big part of the economy that they have little choice but to manage it sustainably. Obviously a 360 degree 200 mile exclusion zone helps.
However, I don’t have any qualms about eating Start Bay crab. Described as underwater rats, they’ll mop up anything on the seabed going begging. Overfishing is obviously a danger but as the link below shows, unsuitable (small, soft shelled and egg carrying hens) can, and are, routinely returned to the sea so there’s no waste of bycatch.
Crab is also the new black – as the Telegraph article demonstrates. Brilliant for salads and sandwiches and even better when you start spicing it up.
Click here for a couple of relatively easy suggestions. Both freeze well so they’re worth making in advance for unforeseen occasions. Brown crab meat is a fraction of the price of white and has a much more robust flavour but it is wet so you might need to add more breadcrumbs to firm it up.