Crabbing is a common pastime is Australia during the hot Summer months, and thank goodness because on Saturday Ollie and his friends returned to the house with eight glorious blue swimmer crabs for dinner. They graciously allowed me to select the menu and I opted for a classic, no fuss pasta dish of crab, fennel and chilli.
I did consider making fresh pasta for this dish (and probably should have), but when its 39°C outside you really lose the ability to give a stuff. Well I did anyway…so packet pasta to the rescue.
The fresh crab meat was absolutely delicious. Sweet, tender, fresh crab is a real luxury and I would say I only eat crab a couple times per year. So to be trusted with eight beautiful, freshly caught crabs was a real treat. I note that this combination of flavours is a classic and has been done a hundred times before. I saw no reason to complicate what I knew would work well.
There’s something about seafood which always transports me home, back to the salty air of the afternoon sea breeze, the white sandy beaches and the long hot Summer days. Seafood is an obligatory Australian Summer dish – and I love it!
320gm dried linguine
450gm crab meat (we had 8 crabs, and used all for this recipe, but you don’t have to use that many)
1 bulb fennel, finely sliced (and green fennel tops reserved)
2 fresh red chillies, de-seeded and finely sliced
8 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- If cooking whole crabs, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and place crabs in upside down, cooking for 7 minutes. Cook crabs in batches if necessary.
- Remove crab meat from the shell and place in a bowl with chilli, the rind one lemon and fennel tops.
- Juice both lemons and mix together with olive oil.
- Lightly saute the finely sliced fennel bulb with a small knob of butter. Remove to a small bowl.
- Cook pasta as per packet instructions, once cooked drain liquid and return to the same pot, reserving a small amount of the cooking liquid.
- Add the reserved pasta water, lemon and olive oil, fennel and crab mix, stirring gently to combine. The heat of the freshly cooked pasta will warm the crab. Garnish with fennel tops and extra chilli (if desired).
We served alongside homemade garlic bread and a glass of white….heaven.