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Beignets of spanner crab

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for beignets of spanner crab.

  • Serves 25
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 50 mins cooking plus cooling
Beignets of spanner crab
Beignets of spanner crab

“Our contemporary approach to Bistro Gitan is best shown in this dish,” says Nathalie Reymond. “We’re using fresh, local spanner crab and aromatics.”


  • 1 large Desiree potato (about 450gm), quartered
  • 150 gm picked, cooked spanner crab meat
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 100 gm baby spinach leaves
Lemon and ginger egg mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 15 ml cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger juice (see note)
  • ¾ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 200 ml vegetable oil
Choux pastry
  • 50 gm butter, diced
  • 75 gm flour
  • 2 eggs


  • 1
    Cook potato in a saucepan of simmering salted water over medium-high heat until tender (20-25 minutes), drain well, transfer to a steamer placed over a saucepan of simmering water to steam dry (2 minutes), then pass through a coarse sieve or a potato ricer into the hot, dry pan.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for lemon and ginger egg mayonnaise, cook egg in a small saucepan of boiling water over medium-high heat until hard-boiled (4 minutes), refresh in iced water and peel. Blend in a food processor with cider, lemon rind and juice, ginger juice and mustard (30 seconds), season to taste, then, with motor running, add oil in a thin steady stream until thick and emulsified. Season to taste and set aside.
  • 3
    For choux pastry, combine butter and 125ml water in a saucepan, season to taste, bring to the boil over medium heat and stir constantly until mixture emulsifies. Add flour and stir well to combine, then reduce heat to low and stir until mixture comes away from the sides of pan (1 minute). Transfer to the heated bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, then, with motor running on low speed, add eggs one at a time and mix until a smooth, thick, glossy pastry forms (2-3 minutes; it’s important that the dough is hot when you incorporate the eggs).
  • 4
    While choux pastry is still warm, mix equal amounts of choux pastry and puréed potato then form into a disc (discard any remaining potato). Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool slightly and thicken (10-15 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, fold in crab meat, kaffir lime, coriander, chilli and ginger and season to taste. Heat vegetable oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 180C. Roll crab mixture into 25 balls and deep-fry in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper.
  • 5
    Meanwhile, combine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl, add spinach, toss to combine and transfer to a plate. Serve with beignets, with lemon and ginger egg mayonnaise for dipping.


To make 1 tsp ginger juice, squeeze the liquid from 2 tsp grated ginger.
This recipe is from the July 2012 issue of
Drink Suggestion: Delgado Zuleta “La Goya” Manzanilla, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain. Drink suggestion by Edouard & Nathalie Reymond