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.

delicious - - CONTENTS -

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.

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