Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Hot Day, Hot Crab

It is getting hot now. Our up and down seasons may still be unpredictable but since Sunday, we have had a scorcher in the North East. My big red English face is testimony to the fact, I never learn. With a demanding 2 year old and a new house still to sort, there is not enough time in the day to be preparing anything too elaborate. Thanks to the plentiful fish supply from my favourite fishmongers, Latimers Fish Deli of Whitburn, I am never too far away from a bit of fast and fishy inspiration.

Latimers sell tons of crabs each week and I have to profess a huge love of the creature. In an earlier post, I told you about the pleasures of eating a crab as it is, with nothing more than fresh bread and a good mustard mayonnaise. I would never dream of buying a dressed crab for this purpose. But if I do trust my fishmonger, I would consider buying a dressed crab for use in other dishes, especially if time is short as it is for me at the moment.

The dish I decided to do today is nothing new, but if done correctly, it can be an utterly perfect pasta sauce. We are hungry, Cerys loves pasta and with the added benefit of getting another creature of the sea down her eager mouth, I decided to whip up a spicy crab spaghetti. Crab and chilli are perfect together. Not too much heat, just enough to make your mouth sing a little. The sweetness of a rich tomato sauce will ease any lingering heat, and in my dish I experimented by adding a dash of honey. It probably didn’t need it, but it did make a jam-like tomato sauce that clung to the pasta and enriched the sometimes bland tinned tomatoes that I used. Once our own British tomatoes are out soon, the tins will go back in the cupboard for the winter. I can’t wait.

Crab and Chilli Spaghetti
Feeds 2 and 1 child

2 tins of tomatoes
1 onion roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and sliced thinly
1 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tbs honey
1 dressed crab
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil

1 – To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion. Soften, then add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute.
2 – Add the tomatoes and red wine vinegar and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly. Add the honey and stir in to make a jammy consistency and taste for seasoning.
3 – Pick out the brown meat and stir into the sauce.
4 – Cook your quantity of spaghetti and stir the sauce into the drained pasta. Pile onto plates then sprinkle with the delicate white crab meat and a few basil leaves.

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