I was watching a recent episode of Great British Food Revival where Angela Hartnett was talking about the delights of both the brown crab and spider crab. She did a a lovely spider crab gratin which inspired this dish.
Spiced Brown Crab Gratin
4 Brown crabs cooked and picked (both brown & white meat) Retain the shells for the gratin.
2 Shallots finely diced
1 Stick lemongrass finely chopped
1 Red chilli finely chopped
1 tsp Ground cumin
1 Glass dry white wine
2 Tbsp brandy
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Dash sweet chili sauce
2tbsp rapeseed oil
50 g Parmesan finely grated
Heat your grill to a high heat.
Saute the shallots on a low heat until they are translucent. Add the lemongrass, chili and cumin and allow them to cook for a minute or two. The add in all the crab meat and heat through. Add the brandy and flambe to burn off the strong alcohol taste and then add the white wine, zest and juice of the lime and the chili sauce and allow it to reduce down. Check the mixture for seasoning and adjust to taste. Spoon the mixture into the crab shells. Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan together and sprinkle over the top of each filled shell. Place under the grill for about 3/4 minutes and serve with a wedge of lime.
If you cant get crabs you could just use white crab meat, reduce the amount of white wine and put it in small gratin dishes.