I’ve long been of the opinion that crab is the tastiest creature to walk the earth and seabed (sideways). So yes, it’s my favourite food but even if it were not, I’d still recognise that it’s far tastier than lobster, and much cheaper as a bonus.
We’re at the start of the brown crab season now, which continues until around November time, so we can make the most of them all spring and summer long.
We’re all familiar with crab salads, crab on toast and crab linguine, but crab fried rice is a great way to use the crustacean that’s often overlooked, unless you’re Thai. The origins of this dish are South East Asian, then, and it makes use of lots of those familiar bright, aromatic flavourings such as ginger, coriander and chilli.
I’ve matched the dish with a Provencale rosé from WineTrust, pale in colour with delicate pineapple and anise herbal notes that make it just about the most moreish of rosé styles. While it’s traditionally considered an aperitif, we all know it works equally well with food, particularly creatures of the sea.
I’ve toned down the chilli heat here (which would normally be three times as punchy) so as not to hobble the wine and I think the match is an excellent one – the bright lime and coriander top notes sing and the deep umami of the crab meat shines just that bit brighter against the wine’s crisp acidity.
Crab Fried Rice (matched with 2014 Chateau la Moutete, Grand Reserve Rose by WineTrust)
250g Jasmine rice (dry weight), cooked
2.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 large eggs
150g picked white crab meat
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon Fino sherry or Shaoxing rice wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Handful fresh coriander leaves
Sliced cucumber, to serve
Heat half a tablespoon of the oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for around 10 seconds, just until fragrant.
Add half the rice (we don’t want to crowd the pan) then stir fry until the rice is just starting to colour and has taken on a chewy texture – a few minutes should do it. Set aside, add another half tablespoon of oil and stir fry the remaining rice. Add the first lot of rice back to the pan and stir to combine.
Add the fish sauce, sherry or Shaoxing rice wine and soy. Stir fry to combine and cook until evaporated.
Push the rice to one side of the wok and crack in both eggs, then scramble them with your spatula, stirring until cooked. Break into pieces and combine with the rice.
Add the crab and spring onions and cook, stirring until the crab meat is warmed through. Stir in the coriander and taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Serve with the sliced cucumber.