Recipe: spanner crab with macadamia, pea, mint and tomato

By Nelly Robinson, - Executive Chef at nel. Restaurant, Sydney

Nelly says, “This has to be one of the best dishes we have done at nel., although we change our menus every six weeks, which is a challenge in itself! I find many of my dishes are inspired by my memories, and this one comes from holidaying in Cornwall UK with my Dad, eating crab sandwiches with mayonnaise and tomato. In my twist, the crab is mixed with citrus mayonnaise, macadamias, mint, and tomato water."

Servings: 4



200 g spanner crab meat

20 ml olive oil

30 g crème fraiche

½ bunch chives, chopped

A pinch of chili powder

Zest from ½ lime

Juice from ½ lime

Salt and pepper to taste


Pickled carrot:

One carrot

Sushi seasoning 

Macadamia puree:

100 g macadamia

20 g white vinegar 

20 g water


Tomato water:

400 g Roma tomatoes

1 stick celery


White wine vinegar


Mint oil:

1 bunch of mint

200 g grape seed oil


80 g fresh peas, blanched

9 macadamias, thinly sliced

Dill, to garnish



The day before:

Slice the carrot and place into a pickling liquid in the fridge overnight. Drain and set aside until needed.

Blitz the tomatoes in a blender, and filter overnight through cheesecloth to separate pulp and water.

Blanch the mint leaves in boiling water for 2 seconds. Drain excess water and blend immediately in a blender 

with the oil.  Filter overnight though cheesecloth. Oil can be stored in a container in the fridge for up to five days.

On the day:

  • Place the crab and olive oil in a vacuum pack and seal tight. Cook at 85C in a pot of just simmering water for ten minutes, then place in an ice bath to chill.

  • Once the crab is chilled, squeeze out excess juice and put in to a mixing bowl with the crème fraiche, chives, chilli, lime zest and juice, and season to taste.

  • To make the macadamia puree, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste.

  • To finish the tomato water, add Tabasco, white wine vinegar, and salt to taste.

  • In a wide bowl, place the crab in the middle of a metal ring and flatten out.

  • Top with sliced macadamias, carrot, and peas.

  • Top with macadamia puree and garnish with dill.

  • Pour about 20ml of the mint oil around the outside of the crab.

  • Serve the tomato water in a jug on the table for guests to pour over the dish.


To be inspired by more of Nelly’s dishes, follow his Instagram or check out nel. Restaurant in Sydney!