Crab Mousse with Asparagus and Chervil Butter Sauce


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Feast of Fish

A Feast of Fish

By Ian McAndrew

Published 1989

  • About


  • 1 X 900 g/2 lb live crab
  • 2.25 litres/4 pints court bouillon
  • ½ recipe for basic fish mousse
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 40 asparagus tips
  • 50 g/2 oz fresh chervil
  • 450 g/1 lb unsalted butter
  • 600 ml/1 pint fish stock
  • 175 ml/6 fl oz dry sherry
  • 175 ml/6 fl oz double cream


    Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

    Bring the court bouillon to the boil, plunge in the crab and cook for 15 minutes. Allow the crab to go cold in the bouillon. When cold, remove all the meat – both the brown meat from the body and the white meat from the claws and legs. Save the shells for another recipe. Combine this all together and process in a blender or food processor until it is a little finer than it was, but do not reduce it to a fine paste. Mix the crab meat thoroughly with the fish mousse, season to taste (if necessary, add a little more dry sherry to the mixture), then test.

    Peel the asparagus tips if they need it, then tie them into bundles of fives. Trim the tips so that they are about 10 cm/4 inches long. Pick the chervil leaves from their stalks. Cut the butter into 1 cm/½ inch cubes and leave in the refrigerator. Combine the fish stock and dry sherry together, set over a high heat and reduce by three-quarters.

    Lightly butter 8 oval or round 85 ml/3 fl oz moulds, divide the mousse between them and press in well to exclude any air. Top each one with buttered foil. Heat an ovenproof pan or tray large enough to take all the moulds with about 1 cm/½ inch water. When the water boils, put in the moulds and place in the oven for 15 minutes. When the mousses are cooked, remove them from the bain-marie and allow to rest.

    Meanwhile, add the cream to the reduced stock, bring back to the boil and then remove from the heat. Gradually add the butter a piece at a time, whisking continuously until it has all melted. Plunge the asparagus tips into boiling water and cook until they still have a little bite, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain.