Thursday, June 19, 2008
Another one of June’s highlights is crab.
I am sure I am not alone in finding crab a real bore to both prepare and dress. All that work for very little reward. But isn’t it fantastic when you do finally managed to prise those little morsels from all the nooks and crannies.
Crab has such a delicate flavour that it needs very little in the way of adornment otherwise it will be swamped. I have to admit that I don’t really ‘get’ the French insistence of serving crab with homemade mayonnaise, or even a rouille, as it completely takes over and obliterates the crab. A very big surprise that I discovered recently was what a fantastic accompaniment the Thai dipping sauce, prik nam pla, is for crab. Somehow it really seems to bring out the delicate flavours.
Anyway, you will need:
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 red chilli, seeds and pith removed, finely chopped
4 spring onions, white parts only, finely sliced
360g spaghettini, tagliarini or linguine
Juice of ½ lemon (maybe more, taste test before serving)
300g fresh crab meat (white, or a mix of white and brown)
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A small handful of basil leaves
(you can also add some very finely chopped drained sun-dried tomatoes as well)
And then you need to:
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil.
Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a small pan and sauté the garlic, chilli and spring onions for 1-2 minutes: they mustn’t colour.
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
Drain, leaving about 1 tbsp of water in the pan.
Tip in the garlic, chilli, onions and the oil they were cooked in. Add the chopped tomatoes as well if you are using.
Return the pasta to the pan, then add the remaining oil, lemon juice, crab and parsley, and season.
Mix thoroughly, so that the pasta is well coated, then tear the basil leaves and stir in. Serve immediately.