Cromer crab thermidor

David and John Brooks dish of sweet crab, rich creamy sauce and bubbling parmesan makes a divinely rich appetiser
Cromer crab thermidor
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4 as a starter
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 2 brown crab, preferably Cromer, cooked
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 550 ml fish stock
  • 200 ml dry vermouth
  • 75 ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp English mustard
  • 2 tbsp mixed herbs, finely chopped (such as parsley, chives, tarragon or chervil)
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
  • rocket and watercress leaves, to serve

Tips and Suggestions

For a lower-fat alternative, substitute the same quantity of half fat crème fraiche for the double cream. For more information on healthier eating see


1. Crack open the crabs and remove the meat from the body and claws, keeping the white and brown meat separate, then wash and dry the main body shells thoroughly. Pick over the meat for any stray bits of shell, then divide the white meat between the two shells and place on a baking sheet.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and gently cook the shallots over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until softened but not coloured. Stir in the stock, Vermouth and half the cream and boil until the mixture reduces down to about a quarter of what you had. Add the rest of the cream and simmer until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Stir in 3 teaspoons of brown meat along with the mustard, herbs and lemon juice, then season to taste.

3. Spoon the sauce over the crab meat and sprinkle each with the cheese. Place under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden and bubbling, then serve on a bed of salad leaves.

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