A month or so ago I had the Modern Pantry’s signature dish, an omelette with sugar-cured prawns and smoked chilli sambal. Faced with a dressed crab and not much else in the fridge for dinner, I thought I’d experiment with the idea, but with crab and a spicy/sour dressing, not really knowing what sambal was. This was a real raid-the-fridge dinner on a day where I still had some ingredients from a weekend barbecue, all falling into a smoky-spicy-fragrant flavour profile, always the stuff of good leftover cooking. The recipe below is what I cooked – clearly you can adapt to suit what’s good (or about to be not good) in your veg drawer for a quick dinner or lunch. As with all omelettes, have everything to hand before you cook the eggs so you don’t overcook it rushing round to wash and slice the tomatoes.
Crab omelette with smoked chilli dressing
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5-10 minutes depending how well done you like your omelette
2 baby long shallots (bulb and green part), finely sliced
2 or 3 eggs, whisked together in a jug or mug
Half a dressed crab (or just white crab meat, as you like…)
2 radishes, shredded/julienned
4 or 5 baby tomatoes, halved
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
A teaspoon of smoked chipotle salsa that I had in my fridge – it’s from a recipe in Mexican Food Made Simple (brilliant book, buy it!) which I blended up and kept in a jar in the fridge. You could substitute with a spoonful of smoky chilli sauce like the Cool Chile Company’s chipotle chillis in adobo.
A half teaspoon of tamarind paste.
Juice of half a lime
Pinch of sugar
Gently fry the shallots in a little oil in a medium frying pan (one that’ll fit a 2 or 3 egg omelette)
Stir the dressing ingredients in a little bowl and taste – you want a good balance of sharp, spicy and sweet. Add a wee bit more of whichever flavour is lacking until you’re happy with the balance.
Add the eggs to the shallots and move them round the pan a bit as they cook. When thick strands of egg are beginning to form, scatter in the tomatoes, then the crab and let the omelette cook a little bit more. I like mine a little bit runny, not too much so I tilt the pan to ease the liquid to the edges and make little holes for the egg to flow into.
When it’s almost cooked to your liking, spoon the dressing over the crab, and then scatter over the radish and coriander.
Tip your omelette onto your plate: I go for the half wiggle-flop method of wiggling the pan so the omelette starts sliding onto the plate then use the pan and a spatula to tip the half left in the pan over the plate half. Trying to fold it in the pan never works for me and I end up with a scramble rather than a neatly folded omelette.
And the verdict? The crab was good, but the dressing wasn’t what my tastebuds had imagined. Seems like there’s no substitute for sambal. Try again!
One bonus came of this recipe – I finally found a use for the mysterious vegetable shredder I bought in Tokyo, thinking it was a regular mandoline. It makes perfectly neat little shreds about one inch long, apparently perfect for radishes!
P.S. I’ve since found this article which explains a bit but seems have gotten a bit mixed up between the paper and the web. So all that’s left is for me to try it Anna’s way. And let’s be honest, given my love of cookbooks, there’s a pretty high chance of the Modern Pantry cookbook finding its way onto my bookshelves soon!