Crab cakes with crab custard and radish salad

Crab cakes with crab custard and radish salad

Fish Kitchen
David Loftus

A lot of people turn their nose up at brown crab meat. For me though, it’s special. It’s the part of the crab that has the most flavour and it’s very versatile. In this dish I use it to make a custard that almost has the texture of a fine pâté. It works so well with the crab cakes, and the radishes lend a lovely crunchy contrast.

Crab cakes


Quantity Ingredient
300g fresh white crab meat, picked
50g fresh brown crab meat, sieved
light rapeseed oil, for cooking
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
100g white breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
oil, for deep-frying
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Crab custard

Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 sheets bronze leaf gelatine
2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
150g brown crab meat
30ml brandy
200ml double cream
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Radish salad

Quantity Ingredient
12 breakfast radishes, trimmed
3 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 teaspoons chervil leaves, chopped

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
lemon wedges


  1. To make the crab cakes, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of rapeseed oil. When hot, add the shallots, garlic and chilli and cook for 2 minutes, without colouring. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
  2. Put the white and brown crab in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and egg. Mix well, then add the shallot mixture and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste; mix again. Shape the mixture into small fish cakes, place on a tray and refrigerate.
  3. For the custard, put the gelatine in a shallow bowl of cold water to soak. Heat a pan with a drizzle of oil. When it is hot, add the shallots and cook for 1 minute, then add the brown crab meat and brandy and cook for another minute. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the cayenne and lemon juice. Immediately drain the gelatine leaves, squeeze out excess water and add them to the blender. Blend for 30 seconds and taste for salt, adding more if desired. Pour the crab mixture into a piping bag (or into a bowl and cover), then place in the fridge for 1 hour to set.
  4. For the salad, chop the radishes and place in a bowl. For the dressing, whisk the lemon juice with the sunflower oil and ½ a teaspoon of salt, then use to dress the radishes. Toss through the chervil.
  5. When ready to serve, pipe (or spoon) the crab custard into 4 small dishes. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 180°C. Deep-fry the crab cakes, in batches if necessary: lower them into the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes until golden. Remove and drain on a tray lined with kitchen paper.
  6. Place a crab custard and some radish salad on each plate. Pile the crab cakes onto the plates and finish with a drizzle of the lemony dressing from the radishes. Serve with lemon wedges.
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