Delicate crab croutes for a drinks party, and a hearty terrine to see you through the season, writes DOMINI KEMP
I’m not sure what types of parties people have at home nowadays, but I doubt they are as planned or fancy as once upon a time. But what still remains with us all is a longing to get together, break bread and sit around a table to share everything from tears, laughter and fond memories to fights, fixes and plans for the future.
The food columns around this time of year try to capture as many occasion cooking – or should I say cooking for occasions – as possible. Hopefully, something in one of the articles catches your eye, harnesses a bit of longing in your taste buds and helps you be hospitable with ease and confidence.
Cooked crabmeat is available in plenty of good fishmongers. Supermarkets also stock decent ranges. I’m not talking about the tinned stuff, but proper cooked crabmeat that – although it may be frozen – is perfectly acceptable. When using this, let it defrost and then (with very clean hands) pick through it with your fingers, looking for bits of shell. You’ll often find a bit of shell, so it is good to give it a cursory filter with your fingers as crunching down on shell isn’t that pleasant, although is harmless.
The egg-based mayonnaise – fleshed out with hard-boiled eggs – goes really well with the crab. Both these recipes are adapted from one of my favourite Australian chefs, Karen Martini, whose new book Feasting is lovely.
The terrine is tasty, even though I’m not a huge fan of terrines – except ham hock ones – nor a huge fan of liver. But I get their appeal and this really wasn’t too hard to make, despite a long list of ingredients. Quail are available to buy, boned, from most butchers, so they are an easy addition to a terrine to give good texture and balanced flavour. This really does need a good strong chutney to go with it, but this is definitely one thing that can be easily bought, rather than made, and makes a great accompaniment.
Optional garnishes: watercress, caviar or lumpfish roe, and chives
300g cooked crabmeat
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 squirt of anchovy essence
Salt and pepper
Few shakes of Tabasco
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
Big bunch parsley, very finely chopped
Put the crabmeat into a colander and drain. Pick through it, then transfer into a clean bowl. In a food processor, process the hardboiled eggs, anchovy essence, salt, pepper, Tabasco, mayonnaise and yoghurt until pretty smooth. Season with a pinch of sugar. You could also do this by hand by mashing the eggs with the mayo and yoghurt and then mixing in the other ingredients. Fold in the crabmeat and mix and season. Add the parsley and chill until ready to use.