Unless you live near to the sea, buying crab has always been a little difficult and expensive – until now. There are now at least two of the major supermarket chains that now sell very acceptable frozen crab in its shell, and is ideal for this recipe. The crab is sustainably sourced and is caught in pots or traps.
1 pack of frozen Crab claws and legs
Half a bag of fresh spaghetti, or use dried spaghetti
1 red chilli finely chopped
2 cloves of finely chopped or puréed garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
3 good tablespoons of lemon juice
Half of a lemon rind finely grated ~ remember to grate the lemon rind before you juice the lemon.
Salt and pepper
7 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
First defrost the frozen crab which will take two or three hours at room temperature. Tip: place the crab on a metal baking tray which speeds up the thawing process.
When fully thawed, remove the crabmeat from the claws and legs. Helpfully the crab has already been partially prepared and all that is necessary is to use the back of a kitchen knife to open up each part of the claw and legs. You will not need to crack the claws/legs. Use a skewer to get the maximum amount of meat out of the shells. Make sure that you have removed all the shell from the meat as there is nothing worse than finding a piece in the meal when you eat it.
Put the crabmeat to one side, or in the fridge, and place the broken shell into a saucepan just covering it with water. Bring it to the boil and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes. Once simmered strain the liquid through a fine sieve into another, large, saucepan and use this stock to cook the spaghetti. You may need to top it up with water to get the correct amount of liquid. By doing this you will maximize the crab flavor of the dish. If you are using fresh spaghetti it will only take four minutes to cook so prepare the other ingredients while the shells are simmering.
Gently heat half of the olive oil in a small frying pan. Do not let it get too hot. Add the chilli (keep a little back to garnish) and garlic and let it sweat for 20 or so seconds before adding the two thirds of the lemon juice, lemon rind, seasoning and crab meat. On a gentle heat warm the mixture through for a minute or so stirring occasionally.
While the ingredients are warming through drain the spaghetti, leaving just a little of the water with it. Add the crab mixture to the spaghetti together with rest of the olive oil and remaining lemon juice and chopped parsley. Stir the ingredients through the spaghetti.
Divide into bowls or plates and add a grind of pepper and sprinkle with the remaining chopped chilli.