James Bond may consume scrambled eggs with the frequency of someone who can’t get enough of the dish, declare grilled lamb cutlets to be excellent, or enjoy the best cut of the finest meat in America, but the most delicious meal he has ever had in his life is none of these. That honour goes to a heap of stone crabs, accompanied by melted butter, toast, and Champagne, which Bond has at ‘Bill’s on the Beach’ in Miami in Goldfinger (1959).
Florida stone crabs are famed for the large size of their claws, which are typically served on their own. If stone crabs are unobtainable, the legs and claws of king crabs or snow crabs make an excellent alternative (as James Bond and his dinner companion, Mr Du Pont, may themselves have concluded during their discussion in the novel of the comparative merits of stone crabs and Alaskan king crabs).
For the recipe here, I’ve opted for king crabs. A single leg is a good portion for one person, although for an indulgent meal worthy of James Bond, I’d recommend two or three legs per person.
Be warned: this is a messy dish. Normally I’d hesitate to wear a bib (even one made of silk), but if it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for us mere mortals.
Generously serves two
- 1kg raw king crab sections
- 120g butter
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Pinch finely chopped parsley
- 4 slices bread
- Olive oil
Heat the grill or the make the barbecue ready for cooking. Brush the crab sections with a little olive oil, then place under or on the heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning over the crab sections halfway through the cooking time. Once cooked, transfer the crab to a serving dish.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a high heat, adding the garlic, lemon juice and parsley. While the butter’s melting, toast the bread. When the butter is bubbling away, remove it from the heat and pour it into a jug or individual bowls. If there’s room, place the jug and toast onto the dish with the crab and serve. To enjoy the crab, use nutcrackers or scissors to open up the shell.