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Steamed blue swimmer crab

Photo: Marine Oliphant

The crab is enhanced with aromatics and served with a fennel and herb salad and lemon mayonnaise.


  • 3 blue swimmer crabs, uncooked
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 2 3cm knobs ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, washed
  • 1/2 bunch basil leaves, washed
  • For the mayonnaise
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • 200mL grapeseed oil
  • 100mL extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cold water
  • For the salad
  • 1 fennel bulb, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp picked chervil
  • 1 head radicchio, washed and torn into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin
  • olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon


Remove the outer shells of the crabs and then the feathery gills. Using a heavy knife, cut the crabs in half through the middle. Cut the lemongrass in half lengthways and use a rolling pin or other heavy implement to bruise it and help release the flavours.

Add lemongrass, ginger, coriander and basil to a large steamer over a pot of boiling water, put in crabs and cover with a lid. Steam for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the crabs. Check the meat is cooked in the centre and remove to a serving plate.

For the mayonnaise: Whisk the egg yolks with the vinegar and a pinch of salt, then gradually add the two oils in a fine steady stream, whisking all the while. Add 1 tsp cold water and whisk until combined. Season with extra salt if necessary and store in the fridge until needed.

For the salad: Toss fennel, chervil and radicchio together. Season with salt and pepper and dress with the olive oil and lemon juice.

To serve 

Serve crab immediately or chilled, with a little mayonnaise, salad and finger bowls.

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