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Elegant Dressed Crab

Think of teatime and what comes to mind – delicate little sandwiches with wafer-thin slices of cucumber? Homemade scones with jam and clotted cream? Fairy cakes (known as cupcakes outside the UK) or various sweet treats? These are all wonderful but there is certainly a place for something savoury to start the afternoon in style. Before you reach for the sweet confections, consider the savoury fare, and what could be a more impressive beginning to a tea party than dressed crab? This recipe combines crab with parsley, egg, breadcrumbs, mustard, and mayonnaise, to showcase the amazing crab taste.

You can use any kind of cooked fresh crab to make this recipe, although Cromer crabs (from Norfolk in England) are especially good because they are small, sweet, and offer plenty of light to dark meat ratio. Else choose a similar, small crab with lots of light meat. Yes, you can buy ready-dressed crab, but making your own offers that spectacular fresh flavour which cannot be replicated in a shop-bought dressed crab.

Head to your nearest fishmonger and ask him to pull the cooked crab apart a bit so you can see it is full of meat. Then twist off the claws and legs. With your thumbs resting against the shell by the tail, pull the shell off the body. Discard the long white parts from the body (known somewhat disturbingly as ‘dead man’s fingers’) and the greyish-white stomach sac behind the mouth. Then you are left with all the yummy bits! This dish is sure to begin your tea party in style. This recipe only serves 2 so double, triple or quadruple as you see fit.

Tea Party Ready Dressed Crab
Summary: Fresh crab is always impressive, so why not serve our exquisite British dressed crab recipe at your next tea party before the scones and fairy cakes make an appearance?
Cuisine: British
Recipe type: Starters
Serves: 2
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 cooked whole medium crabs
  • 5 oz (140g) mayonnaise
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1½ oz (45g) whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • Small handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Flake the white crabmeat out of the shell.
  2. Mix it with the mayonnaise and grind in some salt and black pepper.
  3. Separate the egg yolks and whites.
  4. Chop them both finely but keep them apart.
  5. Press the dark crabmeat into the outermost parts of the crab shell.
  6. Next to that press the egg yolk on both sides.
  7. You can press the egg white next to the yolk on both sides.
  8. Put the light crabmeat in the middle.
  9. Sprinkle parsley between the egg yolk and dark crabmeat on either side.
  10. Your dressed crab should now resemble the photo.
  11. This is good served with bread and butter or perhaps some lightly dressed baby salad leaves.
  12. Lemon wedges are also good with this.

Photo Description:

For sure, dressed crab is always impressive and colourful enough to make a beautiful centrepiece at your next tea party or evening buffet. Scrape and pick the crabmeat out of all the little crevices in the crab and separate the dark and light meats. A hammer or nutcracker is useful for claw-cracking, then you can use a skewer to poke the meat out. Make sure the jagged rim is smoothed before adding the meat back into the shell, and consider rubbing oil into the shell first. Serve this with bread and butter and lemon wedges, or perhaps a simple salad.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, my name is Christine and I would like to welcome you to TeaTime Recipes. Tea has always been a favourite of mine and I adore the tradition of serving this wonderful beverage with all kinds of little snacks both sweet and savoury. Read More