Oyster stew, crispy soft shell crab, jumbo lump crab imperial and sweet corn pudding

  • Preparation Time50 mins
  • Cooking Time55 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyMedium

For the soft shell crab

Oil
6 jumbo soft shell crabs
240ml whole milk
120ml buttermilk
1/4 cup masa (also known as corn flour, which is available in your local supermarket)
1/2 cup plain flour
Pinch seafood seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the jumbo lump crab imperial

15g butter
1 tbsp plain flour
120ml whole milk
60ml cream
15ml sherry
1/2 lemon, juiced
Hot sauce, to taste
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Seafood seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g jumbo lump crabmeat
1/2 tbsp chopped chives
1/2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
120ml mayonnaise

For the sweet corn pudding

1 ear sweet corn
5g butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp seafood seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
350ml double cream
3 eggs

For the oyster stew

5g butter
60g country ham, diced finely
1 ear sweet corn, kernels removed
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 leek, chopped
175ml vermouth
240ml oyster liquid (juice from the oysters) or substitute bottled clam juice
950ml double cream
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp seafood seasoning
Hot sauce, to taste
18 large oysters, shucked (may be purchased shucked and ready to go), reserve liquid
1 tsp chopped parsley leaves
1 tsp chopped chives
1 tsp chopped thyme leaves

For the assembly

Chives, for garnish, optional
Corn shoots, for garnish, optional
Soft shell crab:

1) Either preheat the fryer, or a Dutch oven filled halfway with oil, to 120C.

2) Clean the crabs and cover them with milk and buttermilk. Place in the refrigerator until chilled, about 10 minutes. Mix together the flours and seasonings.

3) Remove the crabs from the milk and drain the excess. Dip into the seasoned flour and shake off any excess. Carefully lower into the preheated oil. Fry for approximately 3 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Remove from the hot oil, drain and hold for final assembly.

Jumbo lump crab imperial:

1) In a small saute pan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to form a light roux. Cook the roux briefly and stir in the milk and cream. Keep stirring and bring to a boil.

2) Add the sherry, lemon juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, seafood seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat, chill slightly and fold in the jumbo lump crabmeat, chives, parsley and mayonnaise. Reserve for final assembly.

Sweet corn pudding:

1) Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2.

2) Cut the corn kernels off the cob and scrape the cob with the back of a knife to remove the milk. Chop the cob into pieces. Heat the butter in a saute pan and add the shallots, garlic, corn and cob. Saute briefly for 1 minute.

3) Add the seafood seasoning, sugar and salt and pepper, to taste, and saute for an additional minute. Add the cream and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture steep for a few minutes. Discard the cob pieces and puree the corn/crab mixture.

4) Add 1/2 cup of the heated mixture to the eggs and whisk continuously. Then whisk the egg mixture back into the heated liquid (this is also known as tempering).

5) Strain and pour the mixture into six greased ramekins. Bake in the preheated oven in a water bath until the puddings set, about 25 minutes. Remove from the water and reserve warm for final assembly.

Oyster stew:

1) Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the ham, corn kernels, shallot, garlic and leek. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

2) Add the vermouth and oyster liquid (or bottled clam juice). Reduce by half and add the cream. Turn down the heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Add the seasonings and taste. Turn off the heat and add the oysters and herbs. Reserve for final assembly.

Final assembly:

1) Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

2) Carefully lift the top shell off the soft shell crabs and stuff with the crab imperial. Bake in the preheated oven for a few minutes while completing the dish.

3) Place a warm sweet corn pudding in each of six shallow heated bowls. Ladle the oyster stew into each bowl around the pudding with three oysters per serving. Carefully place a soft shell crab on each pudding.

Garnish with chives and corn shoots from your local farmers market, if using.

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