Food memories are often, for me at least, some of the strongest. There are so many things I eat even now that still take me back to a very specific time and place many years in the past. Only recently, Michael and I were watching a TV show which referenced Roquefort cheese. I was immediately reminded of the first time I ate it and could almost picture the plate in front of me. In case you’re wondering, it was in a small hotel near Bayeux in Normandy served as part of a Pear and Roquefort Salad. Simple ingredients, powerful memories.
I have a similar memory when it comes to crab, though on that occasion it’s not what I was eating. The term “dressed crab” evokes a very clear image of brother’s then-girlfriend staring at the plate that had just been placed in front of her. I can’t remember whether or not she enjoyed it, or if she even ate it, but I’m pretty sure that what arrived wasn’t quite what she was expecting. Her expression wasn’t neither horror or disgust, but neither was it excitement or joy. There was just a blank expression that was trying to take it all in.
Having grown up near the seaside, crab is one of those things that was readily available when I was a child. My family liked it and, at the time, I did not. Unlike the more benign varieties of fish and seafood there’s no mistaking it comes from the sea. Yes, that depends on which part you eat, but if you’re not a fan of fruits de mer then it’s not for you. The white meat is delicately flavoured – almost too delicately in some cases (especially when it’s from a tin) – which renders it almost pointless. The brown meat, on the other hand, packs quite a punch and can be a bit of a shock if you’ve not had it before.
Over the years I’ve come to terms with eating crab and now quite enjoy it. I wouldn’t go so far as to saying I loved it, but I do like to revisit it every now and then. I don’t think I’ll ever make it to the dressed crab stage – eating it as it comes with some bread and butter. But I do see it as a solid foundation on which to build other flavours. As with this Crab and Lemon Pasta, where the brown crab meat is the base of the rich sauce that clings to everything else in the bowl.
There’s a generous amount of lemon and garlic in here, to help temper that strong crab flavour. For me that’s very much needed, as it makes it a more rounded flavour overall, without overwhelming the crab completely. The end result is a beautiful little bowl of pasta, with a bold colour and flavour – perfect to add a bit of brightness to a wintry evening.
Crab & Lemon Pasta
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ Onion peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 clove Garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 Baby Plum Tomatoes halved
- 100 g Brown Crab Meat
- 1 Lemon juiced
- 100 g White Crab Meat
- 1 tsp Fresh Parsley finely chopped
- 150 g Dried Pasta cooked per pack instructions
- Note: Cooking the sauce will take about 20-25 minutes, so bear that in mind when cooking your pasta to ensure it’s ready at the same time.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced onion, then reduce the heat and cook slowly for 10-15 minutes until softened and caramelised.
- When softened, turn the heat up and add the garlic. Cook for a further minute or two until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Squash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to create a purée.
- Add the brown crab meat to the pan and stir into the tomato mixture, to form a thick sauce. Squeeze in the lemon juice, then stir well.
- Remove from the heat and add the white crab meat and parsley. Add the cooked pasta to the pan (along with a splash of the pasta cooking water) and toss until it’s coated with sauce.
- Serve immediately.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||2||g|
|of which Sugars||5||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|