Crab and corn are two of my favourite ingredients, and together they taste like the height of summer. I made this plate to cheer myself up truth be told. There’s nothing ‘wrong with me’ per se, I just feel a bit overwhelmed. I knew that arranging some sunny flavours and colours on a plate would go a long way towards lifting my spirits, particularly followed by an hour or two on the sofa with a book afterwards. Like a kind of reset button.
I bought a dressed crab for this because cooking and picking one would’ve been too much, and I charred the corn indoors on a griddle pan rather than on the barbecue because a) I didn’t want the smokiness to overwhelm the crab and b) I couldn’t be bothered to light the barbecue (but really, do refer back to point a because that’s important).
Rich, salty crab meat with sweet niblets (niblets!) of corn is a stunning combo and I brought it all together with a sauce which is very simply a combination of melted butter, harissa from a jar (I used Belazu this time but here’s my harissa recipe should you feel motivated to make it yourself) and brown crab meat. A squeeze of lime plus its zest and a few wiggly tangles of tarragon and this is a very fine and really quite decadent lunch with a piece of bread on the side.
There are different directions you could take this in depending on mood – an Old Bay and chilli butter would be fantastic, as would straight up tarragon, or tarragon and chive. Try swapping lime for lemon or grapefruit, or add carbs into the mix e.g. small potatoes. It’s a very simple recipe – just a lovely arrangement of good things which has the potential to make you feel very clever and capable.
(And yes, I’m feeling much better, thank you).
Charred Corn and Crab with Harissa Butter Recipe
Serves 2 with bread/potatoes/whatever as a main dish, or 4 as a side
1 dressed crab or 1 brown crab cooked and picked – separate the white and brown meat
2 large cobs of corn, husks removed
1 spring onion, white and green parts very finely sliced
A couple of sprigs of tarragon leaves, picked
Juice and zest of 1-2 limes
1 tablespoon harissa
Heat a griddle pan until very hot. Rub the corn lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper, then place into the pan. Cook, turning frequently until charred lightly on all sides. Remove and allow to cool, then slice the niblets from the cob.
Gently melt the butter and stir in the harissa and brown crab meat.
Scatter the corn over a serving plate, add the white crab meat and spring onion. You may not want/need all of the spring onion. Drizzle over the harissa butter and follow with a good squeeze of lime juice and zest. Taste and adjust by adding more seasoning or lime juice. Finally, add the tarragon leaves and serve.