Chef Dario Cavaliere writes a weekly food column for the Waterford News & Star
Almost every time I make crab at home, it is simply mixed with crème fraiche, lime and chilli and served with toast. But last week I got a kilo of delicious fresh crabmeat and decided to do something different with it. So I liked the idea of making parcels of crab, fried in pastry with a dipping sauce.
These are almost like little Empanadas, which are South American pies, filled with meat or cheese. But why not elevate these delicious little treats and use something a little special like fresh Irish crab?! Make sure to pick through your crabmeat to make sure that there are no little bits of left-over shell.
500g plain flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
150g cold un-salted butter, chopped in small cubes
500g crab meat (picked)
25g salted butter
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, minced
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely diced
1 bunch coriander, chopped
100g fresh breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Zest and juice of 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the pastry, place the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl, and rub the cold un-salted butter into it using your hands. When it resembles coarse breadcrumbs, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of cold water and mix until it comes together. Add more water if necessary. Roll into a ball and place in the fridge to firm up.
Meanwhile add the salted butter to a large frying pan and place on a low heat until melted. Add the sliced leeks and peppers and cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften, this should only take about four to five minutes. Then remove from the heat and add the crabmeat and breadcrumbs. Mix well, then add the lime zest and juice along with the chopped coriander and mix well.
Roll the pastry out in batches. You will need 12 circles, roughly 14cms or 5.5 inches in diameter and a half centimetre thick. Use a side plate to cut around to get nice evenly shaped discs of pastry. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the mixture in the centre of each pastry circle, then brush around the edges with the beaten egg.
Close the pastry circles so that you have half moon shaped parcels filled with the crab mixture, and seal the edges with a fork so that they have a pretty sealed pattern. Brush the tops and edges with the remaining egg wash. Place on a baking sheet, lined with baking parchment and place in a preheated oven at 190oC for 30 minutes or until the parcels are golden brown and crisp.
Serve with lemon and dill, crème fraiche on the side and a lemon oil dressed salad.