| 8.7°C Dublin

Ivan Allen's Dressed Crab


Ivan Allen's Dressed Crab

Ivan Allen's Dressed Crab

Ivan Allen's Dressed Crab

We'd prepare all the other ingredients, and then my father-in-law, Ivan Allen, would mix and taste the dressed crab. Serves five to six as a main course.


450g/1lb crabmeat, brown and white mixed (2 or 3 crabs should yield this)

85-100g/3-3½oz soft white breadcrumbs

2 tsps white-wine vinegar

2 tbsps tomato chutney or Ballymaloe tomato relish

30g/1oz butter

Generous pinch mustard powder or 1 level tsp French mustard

Salt and freshly ground pepper

175ml/6fl oz white sauce Topping 30g/1oz butter

55g/2oz soft white breadcrumbs White sauce 300ml/½ pint cold milk

A few slices of carrot

A few slices of onion

3 peppercorns

A small sprig of thyme

A small sprig of parsley

45g/1½ oz roux

Salt and freshly ground pepper


First make the buttered crumbs for the topping. Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the breadcrumbs. Remove from the heat immediately and allow the mixture to cool.

Scrub the crab shells. Mix all the ingredients together, except the topping, taste carefully and correct the seasoning. The texture should be soft, so add a little more white sauce if necessary.

Fill the shells with the mixture, then bake in a moderate oven (180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4) until heated through and brown on top (about 15-20 minutes). Flash under the grill if necessary to crisp the crumbs.

Note: 450g/1lb cooked crab in the shell yields about 170-225g/6-8oz crabmeat, depending on the time of the year.

Now make the white sauce. Put the cold milk into a saucepan with the carrot, onion, peppercorns, thyme and parsley. Bring to the boil and simmer for four to five minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain out the vegetables, bring the milk back to the boil and thicken with roux to a light coating consistency.

Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, taste, and correct the seasoning if necessary.

Weekend Magazine