Mac 'n' Cheese is already one of my favourite comfort foods. Add crab and whitebait to the beautifully cheesy mix and you've got yourself an indulgent treat night dinner.
Utensils: Medium saucepan, large wide-based non-stick frying pan or skillet pan, hand whisk, medium sized oven tray or roasting pan, chopping board, knife, grater, bowl, food processor.
Top Tip: Whitebait can be quite a strong flavour so if you're not too sure everyone will like it you could try using salmon, cod, prawns or even bacon instead (who doesn't love bacon in mac 'n' cheese).
Crab & Whitebait Mac 'n' Cheese
200g pasta shapes of choice (ensure gluten-free if required)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely diced
187ml (1 small bottle) white wine
550ml whole milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
175g extra mature cheddar cheese (or more if you're a cheese super fan like me), grated
200g whitebait, fresh or frozen
100g fresh brown and white crab meat, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 slices white, brown or seeded bread, whizzed into breadcrumbs (ensure gluten-free if required)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large garlic clove, finely diced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Boil the pasta for 6-7 minutes or until al dente (nearly done but not quite). This is usually two minutes less than the time given on your pasta packet instructions.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan / skillet pan over a medium heat. Add the diced onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes until softened and well coloured. Add the butter to the pan and cook until foaming, then add the white wine and cook over a medium heat until the wine has reduced by about half (about 5 minutes). If using frozen whitebait, spread the fish out evenly on an oven tray or roasting pan and place in the pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes while you carry on with the rest of the recipe (if using fresh whitebait ignore this step).
3. Whisk in the cornflour to make a paste. Turn the heat down a little and then begin to add the whole milk a little at a time, whisking constantly to ensure the mixture isn't lumpy. Allow each addition of milk to fully absorb and thicken before adding any more.
4. Turn the heat down to low and add the Dijon and wholegrain mustard. Season with salt and pepper and add the grated cheese, stirring in until fully melted. Then, add the whitebait, chopped crab meat and cooked pasta and stir until all the pasta is coated with cheesy goodness.
5. In a bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the pasta and bake for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Storage: If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you reheat any leftovers, ensure they are piping hot before serving.