How Ludo Lefebvre Makes Hand Rolls [Video]
Ludo Lefebvre’s love of king crab started with a surprising holiday dinner years ago. “It was Christmas day,” recalls the Los Angeles-based chef, “and we were invited to go eat at my sister-in-law’s. I was very excited.” Expectations were high—“When you are in France,” says Ludo of his home country, “Christmas day is like a feast. You have food everywhere.” But after an hour of driving in the snow, Ludo was surprised by what he found when he arrived. “I just saw two big pots of water on the stove,” he says, and “newspaper on the table, newspaper everywhere.”
Luckily, Ludo’s first king crab boil turned out to be a resounding success. “It was an amazing, amazing memory,” he says. “I will never forget that day.” And in the latest episode of Ludo à la Maison, the chef translates this yuletide tradition into a recipe for the warmer months. “Boiling crab like that with butter is good when it’s cold outside,” he says, “but how can I do that for every day?”
His answer is a king crab roll with spicy mayonnaise—part spring roll, part sushi-burrito, and a perfect way to enjoy chilled seafood. To build it, you’ll need some prepared sushi rice—but “if you don’t have sushi rice,” says Ludo, “use another rice. Basmati rice is fine too. Risotto rice. Whatever you have, it’s fine.” While cooking your rice, boil mirin, sugar and rice vinegar in a separate pot; use this mixture to season the rice once it’s finished, and let it cool while preparing the crab.
Melt some butter “to massage the crab,” says Ludo, and halve each leg lengthwise with a sharp knife, keeping the shell on. Says Ludo, “the shell of the crab is pretty chewy, so it’s very hard to cut.” The best way is to crack the shell with the tip of your knife first, and then slice through. Brush the meat with your melted butter and place shell-side-up on a hot grill—after 8-10 minutes, the crab will be cooked through.
Last, the spicy mayo: mix mayonnaise (Ludo prefers homemade—check out some of our recipes) with a squeeze of lemon and some sriracha. When you’re ready to assemble, choose your wrapper—Ludo opts for soy paper, but nori or rice paper would work too—and top with rice, a some shelled crab leg, and mayo. Roll tightly, dip in melted butter, and enjoy.