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Image / Living / Food & Drink

Freshen up your Christmas Day starter with JP McMahon’s crab claws and seaweed butter

by IMAGE Interiors & Living
20th Dec 2020

More than any other time of year, at Christmas we tend to revert to traditions. Some of these are worth holding onto – the annual Christmas Eve catch up with a childhood friend, the family outing to choose the best looking tree. But others can grow tired and sometimes you can labour through them just for the sake of the season.

One of these can be the Christmas Day starter. Always playing second fiddle to the main event, it’s usually just a filler for a rowdy crowd until the potatoes finish cooking.

JP McMahon of Tartare Cafe + Wine Bar in Galway thinks it’s time to shake things up and is eager to involve more seafood into the holiday season, particularly considering some of the finest selection comes from our very own shores. “It’s a time when Irish seafood, shellfish and seaweed is at its best due to colder water,” he explains. “We also forget that we are people of the sea as well as the land.”

So here’s JP’s crab claws recipe that might just outshine the turkey this year.

Crab Claws with Seaweed Butter
Serves four as a starter


24 crab claws, pre-cooked
• 1 tbsp kombu (kelp), dried and milled
• 225g butter
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• sea purslane and samphire, to garnish


1 Soften and blend the kombu and lemon juice together and mix with the soften butter.
Gently melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a pan and warm the claws through over a moderate heat.
Serve and garnish with sea purslane, samphire or another herb.

Tip The excess butter can be stored in the fridge and used in the place of garlic butter to enjoy with steak or pasta.

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