Crab Pancakes with Béchamel

A savoury seafood dish with lashings of creamy spinach-laden béchamel from Giancarlo Caldesi
By Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi
Crab Pancakes with Béchamel
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus chilling
  • Effort: easy


For the pancakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 125 g '00' flour
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 250 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive oil, for frying

For the béchamel

  • 1 litres milk
  • 1 small onion, peeled but left whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 70 g plain flour
  • 100 g butter
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated

For the spinach sauce

  • 500 g baby spinach, steamed, squeezed and chopped finely
  • 1/4 nutmeg, finely grated
  • 1 heaped tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

For the crab filling

  • 200 g crab meat
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped


1. For the pancakes: mix together the eggs, flour, extra virgin olive oil, milk and salt in a bowl using an electric mixer or a hand whisk. Make sure there are no bubbles of flour and that the mixture is smooth and glossy. Leave it to stand for half an hour.

2. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Pour in enough batter to just coat the pan so that the pancakes are thin. Cook for one minute or until the edges start to brown and come away from the sides. Flip and cook for another minute and set aside. Repeat until all the mixture has been used.

3. For the béchamel: heat the milk in a large saucepan with the onion and bay leaves.

4. Meanwhile melt the butter in a medium pan and add the flour. Keep stirring the mixture for several minutes to cook the flour. This makes a roux.

5. When the milk is just coming to the boil remove the onion and bay. Add the roux to the milk using a whisk. Keep whisking the mixture over the heat until it thickens. Stir through the nutmeg and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6. For the spinach sauce: take 500g of the béchamel and mix in the spinach with more pepper and salt, the nutmeg and parsley.

7. For the crab filling: mix 200g of the béchamel with the crabmeat. Stir through the parsley and season.

8. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

9. To assemble, lay out a pancake and spoon 2 tablespoons of the crab mixture on top. Roll up the pancake and arrange it in a large ovenproof dish or individual serving dishes. Repeat until all the pancakes and filling are used up. Pour the spinach sauce over the top. Sprinkle over the parmesan and heat in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve.

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