A simple but sybaritic way of eating two seasonal pleasures, Cromer crab and English asparagus, this makes a luxurious two person lunch. Try it while both are plentiful and grab yourself a ciabatta for the toast at the same time.
I visited the annual Beccles food festival last weekend and came home with a fabulous haul of food, including the crab and what felt like most of the bread on sale at the Penny Bun Bakehouse stall.
Johnny Spillings trained with a series of Michelin-starred chefs before honing his love of baking at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir and eventually opening his own business. His loaves, as you can imagine, are superb.
And while good bread is essential in a dish with so few ingredients, this recipe is mostly about the crab and asparagus. It’s great for spring-into-summer dining.
It takes minutes to make and the only cooking you need to do is under a grill. Another time I might mix a few Aleppo pepper (Turkish chilli) flakes into the brown crab meat but they’re not essential.
Crab and Asparagus Toast
1 small brown crab
About 40g butter
A squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
Six asparagus spears, woody ends discarded
A large slice of ciabatta (or baguette)
Herbs or pea shoots, to garnish
Separate the brown and white crab meat. Mash the butter into the brown meat and season to taste with salt and plenty of pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Steam the asparagus until tender to the point of a knife but still slightly al dente. Split the slice of ciabatta and toast the cut side under the grill. Spread thickly with the brown crab mixture and put under a medium grill again for a few minutes to warm through and melt a little.
Top with the drained asparagus spears and white crab meat, garnish with herbs or pea shoots and serve. My husband likes a little more lemon to squeeze over, I’m happy with the flavours as they are. Your choice.