Gastro campfire cooking – crab cakes

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 a delicious campfire treat is an afternoon well spent.

The brown crab has a dimpled edge to its body giving this guy a comic resemblance of a Cornish pasty but all playfulness stops there – this crab has the charm and nuance of a British army battle tank.

Rust coloured, robust and heavy set, with a bone hard shell and a low gait defensive profile it has powerful claws menacingly accentuated with black tips at the business end. These pincers are used to sever flesh and break bones on the seabed and can take a finger – for this reason it’s best to dive his domain to his rules – with a heavy pair of gloves.


For the 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. In a bowl combine the chili and ginger with the 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. Place on a tray and chill in fridge for about 20 minutes before cooking
6. Prepare good campfire embers (Preheat oven to 180C / 365F / Gas 4)
7. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl 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 crab cakes in flour, dip into the egg and coat with breadcrumbs
10. Heat oil in frying pan and fry crab cakes for 2-3 mins each side, or until crisp golden-brown all over
11. Wrap crab cakes in tin foil (or place on baking tray for oven) and bake for 5-10 mins, cooked when piping hot through 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 the ocean fresh* cakes from a cliff top looking out to sea.

* 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 made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean fresh. Simply put, it means caught and eaten same-day.

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