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Mitch Tonks shares Seafood Specials with Devon Life

PUBLISHED: 15:16 13 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:43 20 February 2013

Mitch Tonks shares Seafood Specials with Devon Life

Mitch Tonks shares Seafood Specials with Devon Life

Mitch Tonks talks about his new book and 30 minute seafood recipes to try at home.

Fish Easy


Mitch Tonks talks about his new book and 30 minute seafood recipes to try at home.


Writing a new recipe book is such a great pleasure, and working with the team at Pavilion and with my good friend and photographer Chris Terry makes it even more so. As a restaurateur I love to be in the kitchen and cooking, so this is a close second best for me, writing about what I love doing. I sit in my office and write whilst looking over the harbour and fishing fleet at Brixham. I collect recipes through the year in my notebook, often inspired by travels and eating out; this new book is a collection of recipes, still inspired by those travels, but ones that we love to eat at home as a family and with friends. They are all nice and easy with ingredients that are regularly available.


It is designed to be a book that anyone can cook from. Being right by the South Coast fishery, we are fortunate to have the freshest fish landed every day which we buy and use in The Seahorse and at RockFish alongside our MSC Norwegian cod and haddock. I cant help but come back from the morning markets wanting to eat some of that fish right from the start of my day!


This recipe is one that uses local lobster, clams and fantastic South Devon crab. Try them at home and enjoy the fruits of the seas!


Grilled spider crab - as cooked in Spain


Spider crab may be hard to find but it is worth seeking out. Try to buy the meat only, as its time-consuming to pick from the shell. The cooked meat is so good its worth eating it dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice and a few lettuce leaves, but this dish is superb too. It can be made equally successfully with meat from the more common brown crab. I like to serve this in the shell, as the final grilling heats the shell and you get some wonderful aromas from it. If you have no shells, small gratin dishes or scallop shells work fine.


Serves 2


olive oil 2 tbsp finely chopped leeks 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered garlic clove, crushed to a paste 2 tbsp finely chopped celery 1 tbsp dry sherry 1 tbsp brandy 60 g/2 oz cooked brown spider crab meat a few fresh tarragon leaves, chopped 50 ml/2 fl oz/4 tbsp double (heavy) cream sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 150 g/5 oz cooked white spider crab meat handful of fine fresh breadcrumbs small knob of butter 1 tsp finely chopped fresh curly parsley lemon wedges to serve


1 Preheat the grill (broiler) to hot. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan, add the leeks, tomatoes, garlic and celery and cook over a low heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Increase the heat, add the sherry and boil off, then add the brandy and boil off again. Stir in the brown crab meat and tarragon, then add the cream, taste and season and take off the heat. Stir in the white crab meat.


2 Pour into the shells or dishes, sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs add a small knob of butter and brown under the grill. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with lemon wedges.


At the fishmonger


Ask your fishmonger for the crab meat only, as its time-consuming to pick from the shell.


Photos: Chris Terry



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