Crab & Asparagus Baked Potatoes

Basil Butter Sauce

Recipe from Nathan’s 2023 cookbook, ‘Fish for Dinner’

“I know I shouldn’t muck around with baked potatoes because they are delicious as they are, but trust me, this is worth it! Crab and asparagus are such a good flavour pairing and happily these two ingredients are in their prime at the same time. Now, the stuffed crab and asparagus potatoes alone are tasty, but I’ve then taken it one step further by adding a basil butter sauce. Please try it – this combination, in my opinion, is next level good!” Nathan

Alternative fish:
smoked mackerel

Serves 4

4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed
4 tablespoons rock salt, for baking
20 asparagus spears, trimmed and peeled if tough
200g (7oz) white crabmeat, picked through for shell and cartilage
100g (3½02) full-fat cream cheese
100g (3½oz) mozzarella, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon creamed horseradish
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped curly-leaf parsley
80g (2¾0z) Parmesan, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
100ml (3½fl oz) white wine
3½ tablespoons double (heavy) cream
250g (9oz) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
15g (½oz) basil leaves, sliced

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Preheat your oven to 220°C Fan (475°F), Gas Mark 9. Arrange the potatoes on a baking tray, each on a mound of rock salt and bake for 1 hour, turning halfway, until cooked.

Meanwhile, line the asparagus up and slice the stalk ends into small rounds until the spears are all the same length. Put the tips to one side.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half, keeping the skins intact. Scoop the flesh out into a bowl and break it up with a fork. Allow it to stand for a few minutes and, when the potato is warm but not hot, add the crab, cream cheese, mozzarella, horseradish, asparagus rounds, lemon zest and herbs and mix together well. Taste the mix and season if necessary.

Divide the crab and potato mix between the skins equally, poke 2 or 3 spears into each one and top with grated Parmesan. Arrange the potato halves on an oven tray and bake at 180°C Fan (400°F), Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes.

To make the sauce, place the shallot and garlic in a pan with the white wine and cook until the wine has almost reduced to nothing. Add the cream and turn the heat down low. Now add the butter, piece by piece, whisking all the time; do not allow the sauce to boil as it will split.

Once all the butter is incorporated, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Strain the sauce through a fine sieve (strainer) into another saucepan and keep it warm until ready to serve. This sauce is best made at the last minute and served straight away. If it goes cold, it will split and you wil have to start again!

To serve the dish, warm 4 plates and arrange 2 potato halves on each one. Add the sliced basil leaves to the sauce and warm gently. Divide the sauce between the plates and serve immediately.