Steamed blue swimmer crab

Steamed blue swimmer crab
Steamed blue swimmer crab Photo: Marine Oliphant

The crab is enhanced with aromatics and served with a fennel and herb salad and lemon mayonnaise.


3 blue swimmer crabs, uncooked

1 stalk lemongrass

2 3cm knobs ginger, peeled and sliced

1/2 bunch coriander, washed

1/2 bunch basil leaves, washed

For the mayonnaise

2 egg yolks

2 tsp white wine vinegar


200mL grapeseed oil

100mL extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp cold water

For the salad

1 fennel bulb, washed and thinly sliced

2 tbsp picked chervil

1 head radicchio, washed and torn into small pieces

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin

olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon


Remove the outer shells of the crabs and then the feathery gills. Using a heavy knife, cut the crabs in half through the middle. Cut the lemongrass in half lengthways and use a rolling pin or other heavy implement to bruise it and help release the flavours.

Add lemongrass, ginger, coriander and basil to a large steamer over a pot of boiling water, put in crabs and cover with a lid. Steam for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the crabs. Check the meat is cooked in the centre and remove to a serving plate.

For the mayonnaise: Whisk the egg yolks with the vinegar and a pinch of salt, then gradually add the two oils in a fine steady stream, whisking all the while. Add 1 tsp cold water and whisk until combined. Season with extra salt if necessary and store in the fridge until needed.

For the salad: Toss fennel, chervil and radicchio together. Season with salt and pepper and dress with the olive oil and lemon juice.

To serve 

Serve crab immediately or chilled, with a little mayonnaise, salad and finger bowls.