Lyme Regis Crab Festival preview and spiced baked spider crab recipe

Crowds gather on the beach for the Lyme Regis Crab Festival

Crowds gather on the beach for the Lyme Regis Crab Festival - Credit: Archant

The Lyme Regis Crab Festival, which takes place 7 – 14 June, is packed with crab-themed events across town.

This year’s festival kicks off with Challenge Hix at 12.30pm on Saturday at Marine Parade Shelters. Watch Mark and his head chef Lin Pidsley battle it out to cook as many crab dishes as they can in an hour. Dishes will be sold to the audience in aid of the Lyme Regis Lifeboat. Another free event follows at 2pm when the three finalist of the Recipe Competition cook their best

British crab recipe. Which one will Mark put on his menu? Then it’s bibs, buckets and bludgeons at the ready for the rustic three course Crab Feast at the Marine

Theatre (starts 7pm, tickets £25) prepared by Mark Hix and the Fish House team. Tickets are going fast for this popular event, get them from Tourist Information on 01297 442138. Money raised on the night goes towards the Marine Theatre’s Raise the Roof campaign and the Fishermen’s Mission.

For more details please visit

Spiced Baked Spider Crab by Mark Hix

If only I had known what I was doing as a kid, throwing all those ugly spider crabs out of my net and back into the water, I wouldn’t do that today! Spider crabs are hard to come by in this country as we export most of them. They can be bought cooked, although you may need to order them in advance. To cook them yourself,

plunge them into simmering salted water for about 15 minutes per kilo. If you can’t get spider crab, a brown crab will do.

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Ingredients - serves 4 as first course

1 large cooked spider crab or brown crab, about 1.5-2kg

200g extra brown crab meat

½ onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

10g knob of ginger, scraped and finely chopped

½ small mild chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

115ml olive oil

3 tbsp sherry

3 tbsp fish stock

50g fresh white breadcrumbs

juice of ½ lemon

salt and freshly ground black pepper



1 - To get the meat out of the crab, twist legs and claws off, then crack open and remove the white meat. Turn the main body on its back and twist off the pointed flap. Push the tip of a table knife between the main shell and the bit to which the legs were attached, twist the blade to separate the two, then push it up and remove. Scoop out the brown meat in the well of the shell and put with the leg and claw meat. On the other part of the body, remove the ‘dead man’s fingers’ (the feathery grey gills attached to the body) and discard. Split the body in half with the heavy knife. Now patiently pick out the white meat from the little cavities. Add to the rest of the meat. Clean the shell if you want to use it for serving.

2 - Gently cook the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in 2 teaspoons of the oil until soft. Add sherry,fish stock and brown crab meat, stir well then add most of the breadcrumbs (reserving a few to scatter on top), half the lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Bring just to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 - Preheat a hot grill. In a blender, process one-third of the mix with the rest of the olive oil, then stir it back into the mixture along with the crab meat. Taste and add more lemon juice and seasoning if necessary.

4 - Spoon into the cleaned shell or an ovenproof serving dish and scatter over the reserved breadcrumbs. Lightly brown under the grill. Serve with thin slices of toast.