Mary Berry's Crab and Herb Blinis with Pickled Fennel Herb Salad

As seen on her BBC2 series, Simple Comforts, Mary Berry's crab blinis with a pickled fennel side salad are perfect as a dinner party starter or an extra special lunch dish.

From the book

Simple Comforts by
Simple Comforts
Heart-warming comfort dishes from the nation's favourite cook
With easy, family-friendly recipes as well as all-out weekend feasts
Including chapters full of indulgent bakes and sweet treats

Introduction

Delicious for lunch or a light supper, this combines beautifully light blinis with fresh crab and a sharp fennel salad that cuts through the richness of the shellfish. If fresh crabmeat is not available, use thawed frozen crabmeat.

Catch all of your favourite recipes from Mary's new series, Simple Comforts, here.

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the fennel salad:
15g (½oz) light muscovado sugar
25ml (1fl oz) white wine vinegar
1 fennel bulb, core removed
1 spring onion, finely sliced
½ tsp chopped tarragon leaves
1 tbsp chopped dill
salt and black pepper
For the herb blinis:
100g (4oz) self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
about 125ml (4fl oz) milk
1 tbsp chopped dill
2 tsp snipped chives
vegetable oil, for frying
For the crab topping:
2 tbsp full-fat crème fraîche
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 spring onions, chopped
2 tsp hot horseradish sauce
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Tabasco sauce, to taste
200g (7oz) fresh white crabmeat
pea shoots, to garnish

Instructions

1. For the salad, measure the sugar and wine vinegar into a small pan. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, then pour into a salad bowl and leave to cool. Slice the fennel as thinly as you can and add it to the bowl with the spring onions, herbs and seasoning. Stir to combine and leave to marinate for about an hour.

2. For the blinis, measure the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the egg and a little of the milk, then whisk to combine. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk to make a smooth batter with the consistency of thick pouring cream. Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper.

3. Heat a frying pan until hot and add little oil. Spoon in a heaped tablespoon of batter to make a large thin blini – almost like a Scotch pancake. Cook for a few minutes and when bubbles start to appear on the surface, flip it over and cook for 1–2 minutes until cooked through. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make 4 blinis. Set them aside on a rack to cool.

4. To make the crab topping, mix the crème fraîche, lemon juice, spring onions, horseradish, herbs and Tabasco in a bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Reserve a heaped tablespoon of crabmeat and mix the rest into the bowl.

5. Sit each blini on a plate. Divide the crab mixture between them and spoon a little of the reserved crab in the centre of each. Spoon the salad next to the blinis and garnish with pea shoots.

Prepare ahead: Can make all the components up to 8 hours ahead, then assemble up to an hour before serving.

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