Crab is an incredible and completely underrated shellfish, and in the UK you can buy blue, snow, spider and brown crabs in supermarkets and fishmongers. You can either buy crab live, picked, or picked and then cooked in lovely little shells. When you’re cooking, it’s great to have a mixture of the white and the brown meat – the white meat gives you texture and sweetness and you get good attitude and a nice roundness of flavour from the brown.
Add the potatoes to a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, blacken the pepper, tomatoes and chilli in a large frying pan on a high heat with a small splash of olive oil, then leave to cool.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and leave to steam dry for a few minutes then return to the pan. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the crab meat then mash with a potato masher. Finely grate the zest of a lemon onto a board, add the parsley, chilli and spring onions and chop it all together, mixing as you go, until fine. Scrape this into the pan of crab mixture and mash again till well combined. Divide into 12 portions then shape, pat and hug each one into a patty. Pop in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to firm up.
When you’re ready to cook, add a splash of olive oil to a large frying pan on a high heat. Add half of the patties and cook for about 5 minutes, turning halfway, or until golden, crisp and cooked through, then repeat with the second batch.
Meanwhile, chop the blackened veg with the sliced spring onion as coarsely or as finely as you like. Have a taste then add a pinch of salt and pepper, the extra virgin olive oil and the juice of ½ a lemon. Pick and add the basil leaves, discarding the stalks. Chop again until you’re happy with the consistency.
To serve, lay the crab cakes out on a platter and top with that delicious salsa. Serve with a simple lemony dressed rocket salad and lemon wedges for squeezing over.
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