Artist's Palate: Alber Elbaz's croquettes de crabe

crab croquettes in the shape of an oversized bow tie displayed on blue velvet chair
(Image credit: Zachary Zavislak)

Alber Elbaz, Lanvin's creative director, saviour and fashion superstar, once told the New York Times: 'I can never make a cake because they tell you ten grammes of this, and ten minutes here. I can't follow those kinds of rules. And I do not crave that kind of perfection. And neither do the women I dress.' So when he suggested crab croquettes in the shape of an oversized bow tie, we finessed the recipe for him. The chair wearing the crab bow tie here is by Albert-Armand Rateau, who collaborated with Jeanne Lanvin on her boutique and apartment interiors and ran Lanvin's interiors department in the 1920s.

(Makes 4/6)
200g crab meat
1 bunch of parsley
3 slices of bread
100 ml milk
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp self-raising flour
salt and pepper

For the coating
1 egg

For the dipping sauce
1 lime
3 tbsp crème fraîche

Drain the crab meat. Wash and dry the parsley and chop finely. Remove the crusts from the bread and soak in the milk. In a bowl, mix the crab meat with the mayonnaise, parsley, and lime juice. Squeeze the milk from the bread with your hands and mix into the crab meat mixture along with the flour, then season the mixture.

Shape into bow ties, dust with flour and refrigerate for half an hour. Dip in whisked egg then dip in breadcrumbs, before frying in generous amounts of oil on both sides until golden and crispy. Serve hot, with dipping sauce if desired. To make the dipping sauce, add the zest of the lime to the crème fraîche and mix well, then add the juice of the lime. Worcestershire sauce and other herbs can also be added for variation.


Photography: Zachary Zavislak