Prawn and Blue Swimming Crab Salad with Korean Chilli dressing

Salad with cold water prawns, chunks of blue swimming crab and a Korean style sesame and chilli dressing.

The summer season is finally here in Edinburgh after a long, cold, dark winter and with it comes salad season. I love nothing more than a good fresh salad on a warm summers day, in fact I have been dreaming about one all winter – there is something about a summer’s day that just says “salad”, or maybe its just me!

With this salad of cold water prawns, blue swimming crab meat, eggs, romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, red chilli, yellow bell pepper and red onion, the twist comes with the dressing which transforms the salad to something really special. The dressing is made from sesame seeds, sesame oil, dark soy sauce, honey, vinegar and the essential Korean ingredient – gochujang chilli paste.

I always find it hard to put into words exactly how my food tastes, but one thing I can say for sure is that the dressing transforms an ordinary salad into a truly exotic and fun dish.

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Serves two as main dish or four as a starter

Ingredients and method

The salad

120-150g crab meat – I used blue swimming crab

125-150g cold water prawns – pre cooked, shell and head removed

1 romaine lettuce – wash, dry and roughly shred

4 large round tomatoes – cut into eighths 

10-15 cm cucumber – cut into medium thick slices

4 pre boiled eggs – see method

1 red onion – thinly slice

1 yellow bell pepper –  cut into small pieces or dice

1 large red chilli – thing slice, keep seeds in for spice (optional)

Method: To boil the eggs – bring a medium-sized sauce pan to the boil then carefully add the eggs one at a time into the water, take care not to drop them in too quickly or they will crack (remove and discard if they crack). Reduce heat so pan is gently boiling and cook for 10 minutes.

After this remove eggs and place them in a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking. Once cooled remove from water and set aside. To remove the shells take the egg and tap the egg against the worktop until it starts to crack, turn the egg and continue to tap so that you crack the egg all the way round (imagine a line round egg and follow it). Once you have cracked the egg all the way round the shell you should be able to gently pull the shell and membrane away from the egg.

Assemble the ingredients, layering them in a large salad bowl ready for the dressing.

For the Korean dressing

1 heaped dessert spoon gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon clear honey

1 dessert spoon vinegar

1 heaped dessert spoon sesame seeds

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Method: Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 45-60 mins, to allow flavours to develop. Before serving mix well again, then drizzle over the salad, then mix well so it coats everything. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

 

 

Blue Swimming Crab with Spiced Paella Rice

Spiced tomato based Paella rice dish with chunks of blue swimming crab

This recipe, like many good recipes came from me experimenting with store cupboard ingredients and some leftover fresh ingredients. I wished to make a rice dish which was distinctly different from classic rice dishes such as risotto, paella and jambalaya. I am so happy with the results I have decided to share this recipe with you, in the hope you will give it a try.

The flavour base of the dish comes from a fried mixture of chilli, bell pepper, garlic, celery and red onion. This is softened then rice is added along with a spice mixture, this is fried and gently stirred until each grain is coated. White win is then added and cooked off followed by diced tomato flesh, stock, a little water herbs and seasoning. The rice is simmered until it has softened and the juices have almost been cooked off. For the last few minutes chunks of blue swimming crab are carefully placed on top, the steam and residual heat gently warms the crab through. Just before serving the crab is gently stirred through the rice using the back of a wooden spoon, to ensure the chunks don’t break up and get lost in the rice.

I think this dish is a real winner, its simple to cook with a simply fantastic flavour.

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Serves two people

preparation 15 minutes, cooking time 35-40 minutes

Ingredients and method

150-170g Blue swimming crab chunks (from tin)  – drain before adding to rice

2 large red chillies – remove stalk/seeds, finely dice

1 yellow bell pepper – finely diced

4 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop

2 sticks celery – finely diced

2 red onions – finely diced

150g Paella rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

75ml dry white wine

6 round tomatoes – remove skin and seeds, then dice

500ml chicken stock

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chilli powder

1.5 tsp smoked sweet paprika

Pinch saffron

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

150-200ml water

2 tsp brown sugar

Generous handful coriander leaf – roughly chop, half for dish, half for garnish

Lime wedges – for garnish

Sea salt and black pepper – for grinding

 

Method: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep flat frying pan then add then chopped chilli, garlic, celery, red onion and yellow bell pepper. Fry over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.

Add the rice then add the spice mixture – 1 tsp cumin, coriander, chilli and 1.5tsp smoked paprika. Stir well until the rice, spices and fried mixture is combined and each grain of rice is coated. Fry and gently stir for 1-2 minutes until all liquid in the pan is absorbed by the rice then pour in the white wine and stir gently until it is cooked off.

Once the wine is cooked off add the diced tomato flesh, 500ml chicken stock and a generous pinch of saffron. Next add 1 tsp dried oregano, basil and parsley, 2 tsp brown sugar, 150ml water , half the chopped coriander and sprinkle of salt (not too much as there is salt in the stock) and a generous amount of ground black pepper. Gently stir, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the liquid is nearly cooked off and the rice is plump and tender. If the rice is not ready simply add an extra 50ml water, stir through and give it an extra 5-10 minutes.

Once the liquid is nearly cooked off add the crab chunks along with a little more chopped coriander, place across the surface of the rice as it simmers away allowing the steam to warm the crab through. Once the liquid has been fully cooked off use the back of a wooden spoon and very gently fold the crab through the dish. Serve with a garnish of coriander leaf and lime wedges.

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