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Crab Terrine Recipe

This is a totally delicious terrine, which can be served with toast, dressed-up with some mixed leaves, or as part of a starter - paired-up with some sliced avocado. It would be a highlight of any dinner party.

Freezing, however, will destroy the texture.

The procedure looks complicated, but is in fact quick and easy. We can't pretend that you won't end up with a better flavour if you pick your own crab and make stock out of the bits and pieces. The 'cheats' way out is to buy an 'extra' whole small crab - then break it up with a hammer (having first put it in a plastic bag to protect your eyes & kitchen) - and use this for your stock; buying crabmeat for the terrine elsewhere.


For 8-10:

Either two freshly-cooked crab, weighing between 460g/1 lb and 700g/1½ lbs, or two dressed crabs, in their natural shells - weighing about 230g/8 oz. If you buy whole crab, ask your fishmonger to split it, and remove the stomach.

+ For the Reduction:

About 60g/2 oz of the following - Carrot, Celery & Onion; all peeled and chopped-parsley
2 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled & chopped
2 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
100ml/4 fl oz Dry White Wine
50ml/2 fl oz Armagnac or Cognac (something labelled as brandy will not be so good, even if it mentions Napoleon several times)
2 teapoons (10ml) Tomato Purée
640g/24 fl oz Cold Water
1 Bouquet Garni - we recommend a 'Bouquet Garni for Fish' from (
60g/2 oz Butter

+ Other Ingredients:

225ml/8 fl oz Double Cream
2 level teaspoons (10ml) Powdered Gelatine
2 medium Eggs, separated into whites & yolks
the juice of I Lemon
a little Salt, fresh-ground Pepper and a ¼ teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper (be careful to wash your hands if you touch the cayenne)


1. If you have a whole fresh crab. Pick out as much meat as possible, also keeping all the pieces of shell separately

2. Either way you need a minimum of 340g/12 oz of crabmeat - try your hardest not to eat any!

3. Prepare the reduction bt melting the butter in a heavy saucepan, over a low heat

4. Add the chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic and 'sweat' them until they start to soften without browning (about 3-4 minutes).

5. Add the shell pieces, or the shell from your dressed crab, the tomato purée, white wine, Armagnac/Cognac, bouquet garni and water.

6. Bring this mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

7. Strain through a sieve into a second saucepan, forcing the juices from the vegetables through with the back of a wooden spoon. The vegetables and bouquet garni can be thrown away.

8. 'Reduce' this liquid over a medium heat, until only 8-10 tablespoons (120-150ml) remain. Remove the liquid from the heat.

9. Dissolve the powdered gelatine with the sieved lemon juice, in a cup set in a saucepan of hot water. 10. When using gelatine, always add it to the liquid, not the other way round. Remove from the heat.

11. Mix the egg yolks into the shellfish reduction, then add the hot cream, mixing well.

12. Put this mixture on a low heat and stir constantly until it starts to thicken.

13.Take it off the heat, and add the dissolved gelatine. Allow to cool.

14. Add the crabmeat to the cream mixture, then season with salt, pepper and cayenne.

15. Whip the egg white until stiff, then fold this into the crab mixture.

16. Lightly oil a terrine or bowl and pour the mixture in.

17. Refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours until set.

To Serve: either unmould onto a plate and decorate, or scoop out helpings with a spoon.

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