Up for crabs: the crustacean is fantastic used both on its own and with other strong flavours Photo: Julia Platt Leonard
Crab is definitely a case of less is more. The less you do to it the more you can taste that delicate crab flavour – that hit of the seaside that makes you think you’re at the beach even if you’re totally landlocked.

I’ve never been a fan of baking crab in tarts or, heaven forbid, layering it with pasta for crab lasagne. I think it kills the flavour and with something this expensive, that’s the last thing you want to do.

My exceptions to this rule – and there always are exceptions – are crab cakes and an expertly crafted crab bisque. Both to my mind are causes for celebration.

Crab comes into its own, however, when it’s served cool in a salad with crunchy lettuce and a few other ingredients that let it shine and take centre stage as it should.

White crab meat has been picked over thoroughly but it does pay to feel around for tiny bits of shell. But be gentle as you want the crab to remain flaky – too much vigorous mixing and it gets mushy. While crab is delicate, that doesn’t mean it can’t handle some bolder flavours. I’ve added green chilli powder to give this dish some extra warmth, but a bit of chopped fresh Thai chilli would go well, or skip it, if you’d rather.  

Crab salad with lime, mango and avocado

Limes vary with the amount of juice they give so start with the juice of one lime then taste and add more if needed. 

Serves 3-4

450g white crab meat
juice and zest of 1 lime
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp green chilli powder or one fresh Thai chilli (bird's eye chilli) finely chopped
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
salt
lettuce leaves

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the mayonnaise, chilli and half the lime juice along with half of the lime zest. Add the crab meat and mix gently. 
Taste, season with salt and more lime juice if desired. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Mix the chopped avocado and mango in a separate bowl, adding the remaining lime juice and a generous sprinkle of sea salt.

Place some lettuce leaves on each plate. Divide the crab evenly between them along with some of the avocado and mango salad. 
Garnish with the remaining lime zest.

UK Independent