CRAB AND CHILLI LINGUINE
For four The common-or-garden crabs of the Venetian lagoon are upstaged every spring and autumn by the moeche, miraculous little moulting crabs whose shells are soft for a tiny period of around 19 hours. But the rest of the time, it’s the spider crabs and larger Cromers that sit on the crushed ice slowly waving their claws and rotating their eyestalks. Their meat is delicious. Once cooked, they yield smoky, nutty, reddish-brown flesh from the body and fluffy, delicate white meat from the claws. Your fishmonger, and most supermarket fish counters, will sell the meat already dressed and neatly packed, which makes this an easy (yet impressive and tasty) dish to prepare.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
A small glass of white wine
150g brown crabmeat
150g white crabmeat
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
A large handful of flat parsley, chopped
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon 1. Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, and gently sauté the garlic and chilli for a minute or two. Turn up the heat and pour in the white wine. When it starts to bubble fiercely, remove from the heat and add the brown crabmeat. Mix well into a paste. 2. Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to the packet’s instructions minus 2mins.
Retain a cupful of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
3. Add the linguine to the pan along with the tomatoes, return to a medium heat and mix well, stirring for a minute or two. Add the white crabmeat, the parsley and a good pinch or two of salt. Stir well, using a little of the retained cooking water to loosen the sauce if necessary.
4. Serve on four warmed plates topped with a drizzle of olive oil, a twist of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon.