Preparation / Directions:
If the crab is whole, pull the body apart and pick out all the meat - discarding only the mouthpiece and the gray "dead man's fingers" that fringe the inside carapace. For extra flavor, make a stock with crab shell, flavored with a piece of carrot and a quarter of onion, and boil down to a couple of well-flavored tablespoons which can replace the equivalent milk in the basic white sauce given above.
Prepare the white sauce; melt the butter in a small pan. Stir in the flour and fry gently until the mixture is still pale but sandy. Whisk in the milk slowly, beating until you have a thick sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400F (200 C) gas mark 6. Stir the crabmeat and prepared laverbread into the sauce. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Separate the eggs. Beat the whites until quite stiff. By now the sauce will be cool enough to stir in the yolks. Fold in the whites, turning well to "tire" the mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Butter eight small soufflé dishes and spoon in the mixture, leaving a finger's worth for expansion. Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffed up and golden.
Meanwhile make the cockle sauce. Heat up the reserved white sauce with the cream. Stir in the cockles and laverbread. Season with the salt and freshly milled pepper. Serve with the soufflés as soon as they are ready.
Source: Elisabeth Luard in "Country Living" (British), April 1989