Crab and seashore vegetable tart

Crab and seashore vegetable tart

By
From
Mark Hix On Baking
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

A deliciously rich savoury starter, lunch or tea-time snack. Because you bake these tarts blind they shouldn't rise, leaving you with a light, crisp case that can be used for sweet or savoury dishes. Ideally the meat from a freshly cooked crab is best for this, with a little of the brown meat blended into the sauce to enrich it. If you don't have a fresh crab handy, just buy the best quality fresh white crab meat you can find.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250-300g ready-made all-butter puff pastry
plain flour, for dusting
200ml fish stock
60ml white vermouth
250ml double cream
1 tablespoon brown crab meat, (optional)
a handful seashore vegetables (sea beet, sea purslane, sea aster, samphire), washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
150g white crab meat, freshly picked
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Roll out the pastry on a floured table to about 2 mm thick. Use to line four individual tart tins 10 cm in diameter and 2–3 cm deep. Using your thumb and forefinger, firm the pastry up to – and a little over – the top of the tins. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, then line the tarts with greaseproof paper or foil and fill with baking beans. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Bake the cases for 20 minutes, then remove the baking beans and paper and return to the oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the tins and leave on a wire rack to cool.
  4. Meantime, simmer the fish stock and vermouth in a pan until reduced to about a tablespoon in volume. Add the double cream and continue simmering until it has thickened and reduced by half. Add the brown crab meat, if using, and blend with a hand blender or in a liquidiser until smooth.
  5. Add the seashore vegetables to a pan of boiling water and cook for a minute, so they are still a little firm to the bite. Drain. Add to the sauce with the white crab meat, season to taste and heat gently to warm through. Return the tart cases to the oven for a minute or two to warm. Remove from the oven and spoon the crab mixture into the cases. Flash under a hot grill until lightly coloured to finish, or serve as they are.
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