I can feel the anticipation already. Silver shoals of mackerel are now heading for our shores and the greediest, most delicious and easiest to catch of all fish will be getting caught using nothing more than a piece of foil on a hook by yours truly.
I've been fishing with my daughter recently in an effort to get her passionate about our nearby free food larder. Unfortunately the experience has been fruitless. Hopefully the bounty of mackerel we will soon be catching will make up for it.
The people in the know on South Shields pier reckon it will be another couple of weeks before they appear. So in the meantime I've been grabbing the odd brown crab, my favourite food by far, and making all kinds with their sweet meat. From crabby tatties to crab salads, not a week passes when I don't indulge in our classy crustacean.
Like the mackerel, they are cheap and sustainable and it is worth every effort buying live crabs, boiling and cooling then spending some time with the back of a small spoon extracting every last piece of creamy white meat from the body. And if you are lucky enough to get hold of some sea spinach, salty and packed with iron flavour, it will only benefit your crab themed plate.
Crab and Aubergine Spaghetti
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 aubergine, cut into roughly 1 cm dice
2 tbsp olive oil
4 anchovies, roughly chopped
A handful of black olives, stoned and roughly chopped
A handful of capers, rinsed
A handful of sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
A pinch of chilli flakes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 400ml tin of chopped tomatoes
White and brown meat of 1 crab
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
A couple of handfuls of sea spinach or baby spinach
1 - Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and aubergine. Cook and stir for 5-10 minutes until they are softened and beginning to colour.
2 - Stir in the anchovies and cook until dissolved. Then add the olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes until slightly reduced.
3 - Stir in the crab meat and lemon juice and heat through for 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve stirred into spaghetti with spinach scattered on top.