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BlogRecipe

Mac 'n' Cheese with Crab and Dill

Serves

Prep

Cooking

Fresh brown crab is one of my all-time favourite things to eat, although I tend to save it for special occasions, that way it remains a proper treat. Usually, I like it prepared simply. Some good toast, a spoonful of garlic mayonnaise and a glass of chilled white wine is all you need on a bright summer’s day. Later on in the autumn, I look for warmer, richer and more comforting ways to serve it. Cue this crab mac ‘n’ cheese!

From Le Creuset

Spiced Kedgeree with Steamed Salmon Steaks

Ingredients

  • 400g macaroni
  • 50g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 50g plain flour
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 200ml of double cream
  • 50g mature cheddar
  • 50g Parmesan or Pecorino
  • 1 small bunch of dill, finely chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 200g of fresh crab meat (white and brown meat)
  • A handful of coarse white breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the macaroni. Cook until just tender. Drain, refresh and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan, and when it’s bubbling add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Then add the flour and stir well.
  • Stir occasionally while it’s cooking, then gradually whisk in the milk until you have a smooth white sauce. Continue to cook the sauce, stirring for a few minutes until it thickens.
  • Now stir in the cream, the cheddar cheese and half the Parmesan. Stir well until it’s all melted.
  • Now add the dill, mustard, lemon zest, crab meat and plenty of salt and black pepper to taste. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Combine the cooked macaroni with the crab and dill sauce and tip into a lightly buttered deep 26cm rectangular dish.
  • Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl with the remaining Parmesan, the olive oil and a little salt and pepper and tumble together. 
  • Scatter the topping over the macaroni and place under a preheated grill to bake for 6-10 minutes or until the pasta is piping hot in the middle, bubbling around the edges and golden on top.

cook's notes

  • When it comes to the crab I like to use two thirds delicate white meat, which tends to be found in the legs, and one third rich brown meat, which can be found in the body. Sometimes, I like to pick the crab myself, it’s a rewarding, slow paced process, but a good fishmonger should be able to get hold of freshly picked crab meat for you if time is in short supply.
  • Make sure your macaroni is cooked properly – if you drain it while it is too al dente, it has a tendency to take up all the sauce as it’s finishing cooking under the grill.
  • If crab isn’t your thing – don’t worry! You can make an equally delicious variation on this recipe using steamed leeks and sautéed mushrooms instead. They both go wonderfully with fresh dill.

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