Warm salad of Portland crab, xo, New Forest asparagus, crab pickled onions

Mike Naidoo

Mike Naidoo

23rd April 2024
Mike Naidoo

Warm salad of Portland crab, xo, New Forest asparagus, crab pickled onions

180 min

From seasonal menu at Catch by the Old Fish Market



  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • Hung yogurt
  • 1 large cock crab
  • Lemon zest
  • Black pepper
  • 1 shallot sliced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • Teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic

1 clove of garlic

  • 2 onions
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 garlic
  • 1 leek
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • Quarter bunch of thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 star anise
  • 50g basil
  • 750ml Brandy
  • 1L white wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 5kg brown crab shells, crushed

XO Stock

  • 1kg crab cones
  • 3 shallots/onions
  • 50g bass roe
  • 50g dried prawns
  • 50g ginger
  • 1L kombu stock
  • 1L crab stock
  • 4L water
  • 100g dry scallop skirt
  • 50g dry trout skin
  • 200g cured ham
  • 200g soaked kombu
  • 1 bunch spring onion tops
  • 50g bonito flakes

XO Sauce

  • 5L XO stock (from above)
  • 500ml rice wine vinegar
  • 500ml white wine
  • 200ml mirin
  • 200g grated ginger
  • 100g grated garlic
  • 300g cured ham - chopped
  • 1 bunch of spring onion bottoms
  • 200g dry bass roe
  • 100g dried shrimp
  • 50g dry mush
  • 100g dried scallop skirt
  • 200g lobo coral dry
  • 100g scallop powder
  • 50g mussel powder
  • 2g chilli powder


Asparagus Soup

1) Put a heavy based saucepan with lid on a low heat - whilst this is warming up, slice your shallots and garlic and put to one side
2) Prep your asparagus by snapping it where it bends and remove the eyes of the asparagus but keep all the trimmings
3) Measure asparagus to 3cm and cut - preserving the top and saving the middle part
4) Chop the woody part of the asparagus down into small pieces - around 1cm
5) Begin cooking your shallots and garlic in the warm pan - in oil, add thyme, sweat down for 5mins
6) Add woody asparagus trim to this pan and sauté for 1min
7) Add white wine and reduce then add your crab/fish stock - cover with the lid and simmer for 7mins
8) Take the lid off and add spinach - cook down. Now blend your ingredients (hand blender or blender) into a soup. When blending add a few cubes of salted butter. Once blended, pass through a sieve and chill (in a bowl over ice)
9) Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and blanch the asparagus tips and centre for 45 seconds and transfer to an ice bath
10) Once cool, drain and slice the centres to half the thickness of a pound coin


1) Set combi oven to steam
2) Kill your crab and steam the crab for approx 18mins (depending on size)
3) Pick your crab - only white meat needed, save brown for another time

XO Stock

1) Add the cured ham, fresh ginger, shallots, and bass roe to a large pan
2) To this add the crab cones and add the water and crab stock and the kombu stock
3) Bring that to just below a simmer and add dried prawn, the dried scallop skirts, dried trout skin and the soaked kombu
4) Sit at 80C for about an hour - let it infuse
5) Then add your spring onion tops and bonito flakes
6) Leave to infuse overnight

XO Sauce

1) You should now have about 5L of the stock - sweat the grated ginger, garlic and cured ham (cut into small pieces), spring onion bottoms and dried bass roe, dried shrimp shells and dried mushrooms - until fragrant
2) Deglaze with rice wine vinegar, white wine and mirin - reduce until almost gone
3) Add 5L of XO stock, bring up to a gentle simmer
4) Now add the rest of your dry ingredients - let that infuse over 6-8hrs
5) Pass it off but you want to keep some of the sediment to put back into it - this will help mature the XO and it will improve over time
6) Reduce to flavour and consistency that you require

Crab Pickled Onions

1) In a large pan roast some of the crab shells (do not allow too much colour). Remove and set aside.
2) In the same pan roast all vegetables until golden and soft. Add tomato puree and roast for 2mins.
3) Deglaze the pan with brandy, wine and reduce. Add the shells back into the pan and cover with fish stock. Add thyme and bring to a simmer. Cook for 40mins.
Allow to cool for a further 20mins and pass through a chinois ensuring all flavour is pushed through with a ladle. Whilst stock is cooling, add the basil and coriander to infuse.
4) Repeat the above process with more crab shells until you have finished the 5kg.
5) Whisk 1L of pasteurised egg white with 2 tablespoons of cab sav vinegar, pinch of salt and handful of dried crab powder and place in warm crab stock and clarify - pass through muslin once cooked.
6) Take 600g of the consommé to 400g of cab sav vinegar to 200g sugar
7) Take 1kg of pre-salted pickling onions and place in the pickle liquor - bring to the boil, allow to cool and vac pack

To assemble

1) Mix white crab meat with yogurt, lemon and asparagus coins - season with a touch of the reduced XO sauce (see below)
2) Warm gently in a pan
3) Take your crab chunks and glaze in the XO sauce and at the same time warm your asparagus and pickled onions in an emulsion made from the crab cooking liquid
4) Assemble by placing your items on top of each other and pour soup into a bowl (reheat)

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