Childhood memories inspire Elena Duggan’s crab-filled omelette.
MasterChef winner Elena Duggan serves up one of her favourite Australian ingredients – mud crab – in an explosive omelette that’ll set tastebuds tingling.
MUD CRABS FEEL like the ultimate Australian seafood decadence. Growing up with my parents’ scuba-diving shop alongside so many fisheries on the Noosa River, we often traded whatever we’d caught out on our boat for some of their catch. There was nothing better than anticipating the feast – often involving mud crab – that was about to ensue.
In the final week of MasterChef, I was stoked to receive a mud crab in my Mystery Box, and it reminded me of a couple of family stories. In the first, we’d received a bunch of crabs and secured them – so we thought – in the fridge to eat later. When we returned home that evening, however, the crabs had started the party without us and were crawling all over our timber floors. The second story involved my nan, who loved to cook a traditional Christmas dinner. But her slaving away in Noosa’s summer heat didn’t make sense to her kids. My dad, uncles and aunt convinced her to try a cold, all-seafood Christmas lunch, and had one chance to put their case forward. Unfortunately, this case turned out to be full of sad, meatless crabs. It was back to a hot dinner the next year!
But don’t let these stories put you off. I’m thrilled that so many people are gaining the confidence to cook seafood, and also that there’s now so much information out there about sustainable fishing to help shop for these precious ingredients.
As for this recipe, feel free to experiment with the seasonal vegies you have on hand for the toppings – a variety of fried mushrooms are fabulous; a Mexican avocado salsa in summer is gorgeous. Here, the warmth and umami-richness of the XO sauce, combined with crunchy spring onions and bean sprouts, reward with a textural explosion of flavour, softened and sweetened by the crab. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
MUD CRAB OMELETTE MAKES 2
2 spring onions, finely shredded 200g picked mud crab meat (from about
1kg cooked mud crab) 8 eggs 1/4 tsp ground white pepper 1/ 3 cup (80ml) sunflower oil 100g bean sprouts 1/4 cup (50g) XO sauce (from Asian food shops and selected supermarkets) Coriander sprigs, thinly sliced red chilli
and lime wedges, to serve
Add shredded spring onion to a bowl of iced water for 15 minutes or until onion curls, then drain and set aside.
To prepare the crab, twist off legs and claws, and, using a kitchen hammer or rolling pin, crack in half and pick out meat. Remove shell from body and, using your fingers, remove and discard the gills, then pick out meat (you should be left with about 200g meat in total). Discard shell.
Beat eggs, white pepper and a pinch of salt flakes in a bowl until combined.
Divide oil between 2 x 24cm nonstick frypans and place over high heat. (Alternatively, use 1 pan and cook omelettes in 2 batches.) Divide egg mixture between pans, swirling to evenly coat pans, and cook for 30 seconds or until omelette bases are just beginning to set. Scatter crab meat evenly across omelettes and cook for a further 3-4 minutes or until surface of omelettes have just set. Sprinkle a few bean sprouts over crab, fold omelettes in half and transfer to plates.
Spoon a little XO sauce over omelettes and scatter with spring onion, coriander, chilli and remaining bean sprouts. Serve immediately with lime wedges and remaining XO sauce.