Esquire (UK) - - EATS -

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

400g lin­guine

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.

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