Brazilian Grilled Crab Shells

This is one of the tastiest warm crab dishes we know – in Brazil, this bar snack (casquinha de siri) is served in scallop or crab shells – real or plastic – but you can just as easily use a ramekin. Don’t wait for the World Cup – bring a bit of Brazil to your home dinner party, or as a brunch or supper dish.

Serves:                                  4 as a starter

Preparation Time:             20 minutes

Cook Time:                          10 minutes, until just golden

Ingredients

  • 300-400g fresh white crabmeat (from an 800g-1.2kg cooked brown crab)
  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk mixed with 1 tbsp hot water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ yellow pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • ½ green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large plum tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 60ml white wine
  • 15g desiccated coconut (or use freshly grated, if available)
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus extra wedges to serve
  • Small handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 60g dried breadcrumbs
  • 25g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 20g cold butter
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Pick through the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell. Cover and place in the fridge. Tear the bread into small pieces. Put it in a bowl with the coconut milk and leave to soak for about 15 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the shallot, peppers, garlic, chilli and tomato and cook for six to eight minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  3. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the soaked bread and desiccated coconut and cook for one to two minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the crabmeat, mustard, lime juice and coriander and season with salt and pepper. If it’s too dry, add a little more coconut milk.
  5. Spoon into four lightly oiled ramekins or large, clean scallop shells.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Mix breadcrumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle over the crab mixture. Cut the butter into thin slices and place over the breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden brown. (If the topping isn’t browning enough, put it under the grill for a few minutes). Serve hot with wedges of lime.

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