Last Updated on December 9, 2021
A dish combining french and creole influences to show off Great British Crab
Go straight to the Crab Boil Grand Aïoli Recipe
This recipe for Crab Boil Grand Aïoli is inspired by two specific dishes, both originating in French-speaking parts of the world. The addition of crab makes this an indulgent and truly ‘grand’ dish. Adding malt vinegar to the water to steam replicates the method used in the US but you could also use a light beer as a steaming liquid for a stronger flavour. We did make the aïoli and the old bay seasoning for this recipe although it wasn’t necessarily worth the hassle, old bay seasoning can also be purchased as a creole seasoning, especially in the UK. Click through if you’d like to make your own aïoli The key to this recipe is foregrounding the great taste of Bradley’s fresh frozen crab, caught in UK waters, so unlike traditional recipes, seasoning is not coating every surface and layered with the crab in order to let it speak for itself. Roasting the vegetables instead of steaming them also adds some colour and texture that varies the dish. Optional additions or swaps for the vegetables could be courgette, green beans, carrot or sweet potato.
What’s so brilliant about Bradley’s whole crabs is that they come pre-cooked fresh frozen, so once they’ve been thoroughly defrosted overnight in the fridge, they only need to be heated through in the steamer, getting rid of a lot of the normal hassle associated with cooking whole crabs.
A lot of the work in Crab Boil Grand Aïoli can be done in advance, making it quite speedy to put together for such an elaborate feast. Preparing the vegetables earlier in the day, cutting the potatoes, lettuce, sausage, sweetcorn and garlic makes the cooking time before the meal just half an hour. Some tips with the vegetables can help result in the best possible outcome. Placing the potatoes and garlic cut face down will make sure the sugars in the flesh will caramelise and create that great golden crunch. It is important however to toss the vegetables to avoid sticking and maintain an even cook.
The sweetcorn is best sliced with a serrated bread knife through the fibrous core, you could also try cutting it lengthways into quarters for corn ribs but be careful as the corn can move about standing upright. Cutting the sausage diagonally into lozenges creates the most surface area for the flesh to get crunchy through the Maillard reaction, the chemical process that results in the snap and meaty flavour in foods, it’ll also mean the sausage maintains its structure when dipped in the aioli.
Want to try for yourself? Here’s a printable version of my recipe for Crab Boil Grand Aïoli
A dish combining french and creole influences to show off great British Crab
- 500 g Fingerling potatoes halved lengthways
- 2 Little gem lettuces quartered lengthways
- 250 g Andouille or Kielbasa sausage sliced into 1cm thick diagonal lozenges
- 1 whole sweetcorn sliced into 2cm rounds
- 250g Aïoli
- 1 Bradley's large brown crab 1.75kg
- 1 whole garlic bulb halved
- 50 ml olive oil
- 45 g old bay seasoning
- 200 ml malt vinegar
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
Defrost the crab in the fridge overnight
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Prep the vegetables and sausage and toss them, bar the lettuce, with the olive oil, salt and pepper in a large heavy-bottomed baking tray
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through
In a very large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a steamer tray placed in it, fill the base of the pan with water until it comes up to the edge of the steamer
Add in the malt vinegar and place on a high heat
When the water is simmering, place the whole crab in the water, bring down to a medium heat and close the lid
While the crab is cooking, mix the aïoli and the old bay seasoning in a bowl
Once the crab is heated through and the vegetables and sausage are cooked, arrange the vegetables and sausage, along with the lettuce, on a serving dish and add the crab on top, strewn with the thyme sprigs
Serve as the centrepiece of a meal, dip the vegetables and sausage in the aïoli and top with crab meat
Bradley’s Fish is a well-established business that has operated now for seventy-five years (in fact they are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year). Their comprehensive range of fish is all delivered frozen to ensure that it is kept in the best possible condition. Their fish is frozen at sea as soon as it is caught, in that way it can be delivered to your door in prime condition. And, of course, you can just fill up your freezer for the ultimate easy ‘ready meal’.
Looking for something different to make with crab? You’ll find my recipe for crab pie is worth a try!