Gastro camp cooking – wild caught crab cake

The brown crab is the most popular edible crab in the British Isles and, with a lung full of air and a wet suit, catching one for this gastro campfire recipe is an afternoon well spent.

The brown crab has a dimpled edge to its body giving him a comic Cornish pasty appearance but looks deceive – he has the charm and nuance of a frontline battle tank.

Reddish brown in colouration, robust and heavy set with a bone hard shell and a low-gait defensive profile – brown crabs have powerful claws menacingly highlighted with black tips at the business end.

The claws are used to sever flesh and to break bones with the convenience of using the seabed as a chopping board. He’ll take a small finger and, for this reason, it’s best to dive for crabs with a heavy pair of dive gloves, a crab stick and a glass half full.

Crab cakes

– 2cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled
– 2 red chilies, seeds removed
– 250g white crabmeat
– Handful fresh coriander
– 2 spring onions, finely sliced
– 2 free-range eggs
– 7-8 tbsp breadcrumbs
– Plain flour, for dusting
– 25ml olive oil

To serve

– Sweet chili jam
– Salad leaves
– Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– One lemon

Preparation method

  1. Finely chop ginger and chili
  2. Combine in bowl the chili and ginger with crabmeat, coriander and spring onions
  3. Crack in one egg and mix well, then stir in 4 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs
  4. Divide crab cake mixture into 6 equally and roll to patties
  5. Chill in fridge for 20 min before cooking
  6. Prepare good campfire embers (preheat oven to 180C / 365F / Gas 4)
  7. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon of water to make an egg wash
  8. Place some plain flour and the remaining breadcrumbs in separate shallow dish
  9. Dredge patties in flour, dip in the egg and coat with breadcrumbs
  10. Heat oil in pan and fry crab cakes for 2-3 mins each side / until crisp golden-brown all over
  11. Wrap cakes in tin foil and bake for 5-10 mins, cooked when hot to centre

Serve the crab cakes with a slice of lemon each and a sprig of dill. Sweet chili jam, a few leaves of dressed salad, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Eat from a cliff top looking out to sea content in the knowledge your fish is fresh*.


*The term fresh fish is of course relative. On the high-street, at supermarkets and in city restaurants fresh fish really means days old so, when patiently waiting for your number to be called at the fish-counter, be ready to ask where your fish is from and how many days ago it was likely caught. Supermarkets invent terms to suit their needs and, as a discerning consumer, it really is your right to challenge nonsense. At Octane we have therefore made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean-fresh. Simply put, it means caught and eaten same-day.

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