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Dressed crab on pizza…who would have thought it?!

August 26, 2011

My brother gave me some fabulous spherical green courgettes that he had grown in his garden.  I’m a fan of courgettes, but my man about the house isn’t, so this presented me with a challenge.  What could I cook for him that didn’t have courgettes but wouldn’t mean I had to cook two separate dinners?

In the end, after much trawling of internet recipes in my lunchtime, I landed on the simplistic idea of pizza.  Meat and cheese for him and courgette, cheese and…crab for me. After all, courgettes and fresh crab are a match made in heaven.  Only, when I nipped into Waitrose on my way home, my plan was temporarily distrupted by the lack of fresh brown crabmeat.   I did, however, spot a dressed crab out of the corner of my eye; and at a reduced price no less!  Not able to pass up this gift from the gods (I do so love dressed crab!), I whipped up the packet and then began to consider how I could incorporate this fabulous delicacy on to something as rustic as pizza.

For anyone not familar, dressed crab is the brown crab meat mixed with mayonnaise (ooh, it’s making my mouth water just thinking about it), served on a bed of crumbled hard-boiled egg and topped with the fresh white crab meat.  It’s delicious served on hot buttered toast or a bagel!

Anyway, back to the pizza.  In the end, I settled for something quite simple.  A basic tomato sauce; a generous portion of buffalo mozzarella, sliced; half a large round courgette, grated; a few teaspoons of ricotta; seasoning and extra-virgin olive oil… I baked the lot on a homemade pizza base on my stone (that I love and bought from a Pampered Chef party if you’re wondering where you can get one), and then generously dabbed little piles of the dressed crab on the pizza once it had come out of the oven.  It was truly delicious!  The only thing I do differently next time is to bake the pizza base for a little time without the topping on it, to give it a chance to crisp up some what more.

If you want to recreate this pizza, here’s how:

To make the Pizza Dough (makes enough for two pizza bases, each serves 1-2 persons):

250g strong white bread flour
A quarter teaspoon of salt
Half a teaspoon of dried yeast
A teaspoon of golden caster sugar
Approximately 160ml tepid water

1. Pile the flours and salt in a wide bowl and make a large well in the centre.

2. Add the yeast and sugar to the tepid water, mix with a fork and leave for a few minutes.  Pour into the well and using a fork, slowly mix in a circular motion from the centre outwards, incorporating more flour with each stir.  Then take over with your hands, bringing all the dough together into a ball.  Then lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough on it, until it becomes smooth and pliable – this should take around 10 minutes.

3. Pop the dough back in the bowl, flour the top of it, cover it closely with clingfilm and leave it for at least 15 minutes, in a warm, cosy place.

4. Pre-heat your over to gas 9, with the pizza stone in there if you’ve got one (or baking tray if not).

5. Flour your work surface again, divide the dough into two and roll out thinly.  Now you are ready to top!

To make the Tomato sauce
 (makes enough for around 8 pizzas – left overs can be stored in fridge for about a week or frozen):

a splash of olive oil
Clove of garlic, finely sliced
A teaspoon of dried oregano or mixed herbs
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in the saucepan, before adding the garlic and frying gently for a minute.  Add the oregano or mixed herbs, the tomatoes and then season.  Cook gently for about 20 minutes.

2. Mash the mixture with a potato masher, to remove any big lumps of tomato, check the seasoning and then set aside to cool.

To assemble and cook the pizza:

1. Carefully remove the hot pizza stone or tray from the oven.  Place one of the pizza bases on top.

2. Smear two tablespoons of the tomato sauce over the base.  Top with slices of buffalo mozzarella (as much as you personally like, but remember that less is more on a pizza!), and then grate over half a large courgette.  This should give a generous covering of courgette.  Add some little mounds of ricotta (I find using two teaspoons is an easy way to do this).  Then season generously and drizzle with some good quality extra-virgin olive oil.

3. Place in the oven and cook for around 10 minutes, until the cheese is turning a golden brown and the base is crispy.  Remove from oven and add little mounds of the dressed crab.  Eat straightaway (but should there be any leftovers, it also tastes awesome cold!)

Another fabulous way to combine crab and courgette is in a risotto.  Here’s a fabulous recipe from Olive Magazine that I make quite frequently when courgettes are in season.

  1. This sound seriously good. I didn’t think I liked crab until last night when I realised that finally I have learnt to love it. This recipe would be seriously awesome. Never thought of adding crab to pizza. Yum.

  2. Yeah, I know what you mean…I think crab can be an acquired taste for some people. The more I eat it, the more I love it! :o)

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