Maggie Beer’s crab sandwiches

‘I love crab-it has a much more delicate taste than lobster, and is reminiscent of all things summery. Here, Maggie Beer, most esteemed of Australian food writers, uses the brown meat (or mustard, as she calls it) to make a mayonnaise that she then slathers all over a crabmeat sandwich. My mouth is watering as I write this, so moreish does it sound. Maggie recommends using blue-swimmer crab, but here in Britain I’d go for either brown crab, which has plenty of delicious meat, or spider crab, for its wonderful sweet flavour. Buy a dressed crab from your fishmonger, or have a go at catching one yourself. Happy fishing!’

Thomasina Miers

Crab sandwiches
Extract from Maggie Beer’s
Maggie’s Table
Published by Viking

Crab-mustard mayonnaise

When [food writer] Stephanie Alexander visited us while researching material for her book Stephanie’s Australia, we took her to Port Parham for a feast of crab, and she made her mark by adding the mustard of the crab to the mayonnaise we made. I’ve done the same ever since. This is the perfect way to introduce crab mustard (almost my favourite part) to the more tentative eater.


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2 free-range egg yolks
Quarter cup (4 tbsp) crab mustard (brown meat)
Juice of 1 lemon
375ml good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Blend the egg yolks, crab mustard and half the lemon juice in a food processor. You can continue in the food processor, but for the very best mayonnaise, transfer the egg mixture to a bowl and use
a whisk. Start by adding the oil drop by drop and then in a slow but steady stream, until the mixture is thick and glossy. Season with salt and pepper and add more lemon juice if it is needed.

Crab sandwiches

When I was searching for a dish that replicated the simple way we eat at Port Parham, I thought of crab risotto, omelette or salad. But the flavour of the blue-swimmer crab is such a perfect one in itself that I decided the best option was to follow the KISS [keep it simple, stupid] principle. So here’s a sandwich!

Makes 1


2 thick slices of crusty bread
Crab-mustard mayonnaise (see above)
80g freshly picked crabmeat
Rocket or cress (optional)
Lemon wedges (optional)
Chilli jam (optional)


Slice the bread in half lengthwise, then spread the mayonnaise on one half and the crabmeat on the other (check for any shell fragments first). Serve with peppery greens, lemon wedges and chilli jam alongside so that the lucky recipient can choose the accompaniments.

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