Chilli dressed Crab on Toasted Cornbread

In London, where eating out is becoming nearly as commonplace as New York, the only thing that makes home cooking seem more appealing than the promise of some of the amazing ultra fluffy waffles and freshly frothed coffee, light-as-air buttermilk pancakes and a cold pressed juice on a Saturday morning is the thought that I don’t have to get out of my PJs to make eat it. Perhaps this makes it about 90% likely I won’t get dressed until gone midday and might end up with a questionable looking brown stain on my front, but so be it! Tis the weather for hibernation anyway!

Forgive me if this seems lazy for a chef, but I am a BIG fan of the half make-ahead breakfast. The ‘prepped and ready to go sort’ no need for pancake batter beating, or waffle whipping, just perhaps a little toasting, mashing and scrambling. I am talking 10 mins cooking time TOPS. This usually means that my weekend brunch sits at the mercy of a little baking, or testing for earlier in the week and a few fridge staples.

Chilli dressed Crab on Toasted Brioche, tess ward, breakfast, recipe

Just a NOTE : In case you don’t already know this, I am a BIG fan of cornbread. To me it is the healthy alternative to brioche. I could eat it everyday! To put this into perspective let me just name all the ways I serve a simple thing such as a loaf of gluten free cornbread*

  1. pan fried and served with dressed crab and chilli
  2. toasted and eaten with a spread of coconut oil, topped with leftover fruit crumble
  3. ripped into large pieces (croutons) and baked until crisp to eat with an avocado and smoked salmon, watercress salad
  4. grilled and topped with the nations favourite  – SMASHED AVO, lemon and salt
  5. made into a heartstoppingly indulgent nutella and peanut butter sandwich, battered and deep fried (only joking I would never condone such outrageously indulgent ideas…)

*see recipe below

Chilli dressed Crab on Toasted Brioche, tess ward, breakfast, recipe

Cornbread Recipe (gf)

This recipe is a take on my coconut and honey cornbread, with a few recipe tweaks. A loaf will last just under a week, so I tend to slice it up and store it in the freezer. To defrost, simply place under a grill on a low setting and toast carefully on both sides, until golden (not burnt)

Makes 1 loaf

  • 150g (1 cup) gluten-free cornmeal
  • 100g (1 cup) gluten free flour
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) rice syrup
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 very large eggs/ 3 small ones
  • 230ml (1 cup) buttermilk milk
  • 50g butter, melted


Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius / 350ºF. Lightly grease an large loaf tin with oil.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Separate the eggs and add the egg yolk and the remaining in to a bowl and whisk together until the batter is smooth.

In another large bowl, whip the egg white until they achieve soft peaks and then fold into the egg whites. Make the whites are fully mixed in the pour the batter into into the prepared loaf tin.

Bake the cornbread for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly golden brown. A cake tester inserted in centre of cornbread should come out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool fully before slicing.

Cornbread is at its best fresh. So to store it, wrap the cornbread well in plastic and keep in a sealed tupperware and it will last for 2-3 days.

Chilli dressed Crab on Toasted Brioche

Serves 2

  • 2 large slices cornbread
  • 4 heaped tbsp brown crabmeat
  • 6 tbsp white crabmeat
  • 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon garlic oil
  • a pinch chilli flakes
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 spring onions, sliced


Toasting the Cornbread

From Fresh – Place a frying pan on the stove, over a medium flame. Cut a thick slice of your cooled cornbread and spread the coconut oil over both sides. Add the cornbread to the pan and toast for 2-3 minute on each side, or until golden.

From Frozen – Heat the grill on your oven to a medium/ low setting and position a grill rack nearly at the top – with a few inches of space. Place the cornbread on the grill rack and slide into the oven to cook. Check every minute and remove when the cornbread starts to turn golden

To serve

Mix the white and brown crab meat together in a bowl with the chilli flakes,  garlic oil and creme fraiche. Season with a generous pinch of salt.

Once cooked, place the toasted cornbread on two plates and top each with the smashed crab, mixture. Finish with a final drizzle of garlic oil and a scattering of chopped spring onion.

Serve immediately


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