Crab is one of my absolute favourite ingredients, but I don’t cook with it as often as I’d like, on account of it being quite expensive. If you’re a crab fan, though, there is a way to get around this: brown meat. For some reason it is the white meat of the crab that is more highly prized; it has a delicate flavour and meaty texture, whereas the brown meat tends to look a bit more like, well, sludge. However, it is in the brown meat, I think, that all the flavour lies, much like with chicken or turkey. You can buy it in small pots in most supermarkets. Although not appetising enough to make the star of a salad, brown crab meat works beautifully in dishes where you really want that strong, sweet crab flavour.
The best thing to do with it, I think, is to toss it with some al dente spaghetti in a rich sauce made with lightly cooked cherry tomatoes, white wine and loads of garlic. Finish with some lemon thyme, parsley and lemon salt for a bit of necessary lift to all that richness, and you have something absolutely divine that can be on the table in fifteen minutes. It’s the ultimate meal for one, feeling gorgeously indulgent and a real satisfying pleasure to eat. The crab flavour remains strong and delicious despite the other ingredients, which simply serve to bring out its flavour.
This is the best version I've made so far. It has everything you could want from a bowl of pasta, and from a pot of crab meat. To make it extra special, I like to drizzle over some lovely lemon oil from the Positively Good For You range of flavoured oils (not being paid to say this; just love the range and they're perfect for finishing dishes like this and adding a touch of interest and luxury).
The best crab spaghetti (serves 1):
- 120g spaghetti (or linguine/tagliatelle)
- 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Half a red chilli, finely chopped
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- A generous pinch of smoked paprika
- 150ml white wine
- A few sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves only
- ½ tsp lemon salt
- A pot of brown crab meat
- A good grinding of black pepper
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the spaghetti. Cook until just al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Saute the garlic and chilli over a medium heat until softened, then add the tomatoes and paprika. Cook over a high heat until the tomatoes start to collapse, then add the wine and bubble until the sauce thickens. Add the lemon thyme, lemon salt and half the crab meat and cook for a minute until you have a thick sauce, then toss with the cooked spaghetti, parsley, black pepper and the rest of the crab meat. Serve immediately.