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Soft polenta with crab, chilli, lemon and fennel

This recipe is inspired by a dish Robert Marchetti served during his time at Icebergs. It's a more delicate take on polenta than usual, with sweet crab and crisp fennel lightening up proceedings.

You'll need

90 ml extra-virgin olive oil 1 baby fennel bulb, thinly shaved on a mandolin, fronds coarsely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped ½ long red chilli, finely chopped 250 gm picked crab meat, such as blue swimmer or spanner Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon, or to taste, plus lemon wedges, to serve 2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley   Soft polenta 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock 100 gm coarse polenta 30 gm butter, diced


  • 01
  • For soft polenta, bring stock and 250ml water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, then gradually add polenta, whisking continuously to combine. Reduce heat to as low as it will go and simmer, whisking occasionally, then more frequently as the mixture thickens, and cook until the polenta no longer feels grainy on your tongue (30-35 minutes). Whisk in butter until melted and combined, check seasoning and keep warm.
  • 02
  • Heat oil in a frying pan over low heat, add fennel (not fronds), garlic and chilli, and sauté until fennel is tender (2-3 minutes). Add crab and lemon rind, stir to just warm through, then stir in parsley and lemon juice, and adjust seasoning.
  • 03
  • Spoon polenta onto a board or platter (the consistency should be like thickened cream – if it’s too thick, adjust with a little extra hot stock or water), top with crab mixture, scatter with fennel fronds and serve hot with lemon wedges.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Crisp young riesling.

Featured in

Jun 2016

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