4 servings


For the crabs

2kg fresh crabs

50g butter

5 basil leaves, cut into strips

Salt and white pepper

For the parmesan crisps:

1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

For the avocado salad:

3 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into cubes

3 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 spring onions, chopped

1/2 cup mint and coriander leaves

1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and black pepper


To clean the crabs Flip up the "apron" at the back of the shell, and use your thumb to break it off. Stick your thumb into the hole left from removing the apron, and lift up gently but firmly, to fully remove the carapace. Remove and discard the spongy, inedible gills from either side of the body. Also crack and remove the mandibles (mouthparts) at the front of the crab. Rinse all of the greenish-brown goo out of the body so that you are left with only shell and tasty meat. Turn the crab upside down, grip it on either side, and crack it in two. Squeeze out the meat from each half.


The parmesan crisps preheat the oven to medium-low (160C/325F/gas 3).Lay a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper. Shape 8 flat rounds of grated cheese on the paper, spacing them from each other. Bake for about 6 minutes, until the rounds are golden. Peel them off the paper while they are still warm and set aside. (You can make the crisps ahead of time and keep them for two days in an air-tight container.)

The avocado salad: Mix together all the ingredients for the salad and season with salt and pepper.

The crabs: Melt the butter in a sauté pan. Add the crab meat and sauté over a low flame, stirring. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper and continue sautéing while stirring until the crab meat becomes white. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

To serve: Divide two-thirds of the avocado salad among 4 serving plates. Lay 4 parmesan crisps over the salad, and top them with the crab meat.  Lay the remaining 4 crisps on top of the crab meat, and top them with the remaining avocado salad. Sprinkle some of the dried tomato oil around the Napoleons and serve.