Crab Linguine Recipe

Hannah said she wanted crab linguine, but she wanted a creamy version, not oily. Most web recipes for crab linguine are for the tried and tested olive oil, garlic, chili, lemon and parsley combo and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But there aren’t so many creamy versions, so I decided to make my own up.

As with all crab recipes it’s best when made with freshly cooked crab. But this recipe can be knocked up much more with the pasteurised crab meat you can find in the supermarket, which seems more practical for an after-work dinner. I like the “Seafood and Eat It” range as they do a half-and-half white and brown pack. The taste is fine. Lap introduced me to the idea of serving the brown crab meat as a loose pate, enriched with clarified butter, served on toast (sourdough would be good) alongside the pasta, and it’s a jolly good idea. And of course you should be generous with the crab meat which should be present in goodly amounts clinging to each strand, not searched for hopefully at the bottom of the plate.

Another recent pasta revelation is that I much prefer the Giuseppe Cocco linguine to de Cecco (too thick) or Waitrose’s own brand stuff, it’s narrower and so more sauce can adhere to the pasta, yet still keeps its texture.

Creamy Crab Linguine

Serves 2

200g linguine (Giuseppe Cocco)
150g white crab meat
50g brown crab meat
50g brown shrimps (crevette grise)
70g butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped / minced
50ml white wine
150ml fish stock
2 tbps double cream
Half a lemon
Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

Clarify the butter or – even better – if you have Morecombe Bay shrimps already in butter use that. Cook the shallot in about half the clarified butter until soft in a decent sized pan which will take the pasta later.

To make the brown crab pate:

Put half the softened shallot, the rest of the clarified butter and the brown crab meat in another saucepan and combine over a low heat. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Set aside. Add a drop of Pernod if you like.

To make the crab linguine:

Cook your pasta until al dente. While doing this add the white wine to the pan and cook until reduce by at least half. Add the fish stock and reduce by half. Add the white crab meat and brown shrimps and stir and remove from heat. Add the drained pasta and stir well. Add half the chopped parseley. Season to taste with salt (important!), pepper and lemon juice. Finish by stirring in the cream, still off the heat. Plate up and add the rest of the parsley.

Serve the brown crab pate on a piece of toast with the crab linguine.

Variation: garlic instead of onion in the pasta

Recipe: Windfall Cake

Fun things to do with quince. Membrillo is the obvious one. I did also try HFW’s lamb and quince salad recipe but it didn’t go down very well with the missus (it was quite honestly a bit weird).

Anyway, this cake is well worth a try.

Windfall cake

3 large apples (I used Bramley)
1 large quince or 2 small ones
175g butter plus extra for greasing
2 eggs
180g soft brown sugar
100g blanched almonds, processed to breadcrumb texture
2 lemons
85g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g almond flakes

This is a great use of quince and very autumnal. It produces a very soft, unctuous textured cake with a lovely flavour of quince and lemon. This recipe is from Sarah Raven’s fantastic (really) Garden Cookbook, but she credits the original to Monty Don. So I feel justified in reproducing it here!

1) Peel, core and roughly chop the apples and quince. Make sure you get all the quince core out because this can be very hard. Put the fruit into an oven-proof dish and cover with 50g of brown sugar as well as the zest and juice of a lemon. Bake at 180oC until the pieces are soft but not quite broken down (20-30 minutes).

2) Cream together 150g of butter with 150g of soft brown sugar in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and beat in 2 eggs, one at a time. Add the processed almonds and flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture. Mix the fruit in.

3) Transfer the mixture to a greased, lined baking dish. I used a 19cm dish with good success (original recipe asks for 26cm so that will probably also work).

4) Bake for 30 minutes. In the meantime melt 30g of butter with 25g of brown sugar in a pan, plus juice of a second lemon. Add almond flakes. Remove cake from the oven and spread mixture over top of the cake. Put back in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes longer, until brown.

5) Leave to cool in tin.

Serve with some creme fraiche, or yoghurt, or ice-cream! In fact I tried that Heston salted caramel popcorn ice cream and it was quite good.

The Best … Asian Tiger Prawn Recipe: Sambal Prawns

I wanted to cook something special with the lovely tiger prawns I picked up at Eddie’s Seafood Market on a recent trip to Edinburgh. And so I reached out to Lap who really knows his shit, not least when it comes to Asian recipes. Here’s what he came back with:

I’m assuming about four to five prawns per person. So for four people this will make up to 20 medium sized prawns.

Prepare Prawns: cut legs off, slit down back of shell and remove vein. People will not appreciate the effort involved in doing this but you will!

Prepare Sambal Paste: soak ten to fifteen dried red chillies (the kashmiri style ones, mild to medium heat, very red, seeds discarded), when softened blitz with two cloves garlic, an equal measure of ginger and galangal (so in total the same as garlic), three small shallots and a thumbnail size of toasted shrimp paste (optional, you can use fish sauce later). You should have nice vibrant red paste. Use the soaking liquid to loosen it if required.

Prepare other stuff: Make some tamarind water. Lightly bash one stalk of lemongrass and tie into knot.

Cook: Heat up some oil, and gently fry some curry leaves, when fragrant add the sambal and gently fry that till aromatic. Add prawns and lemongrass. When almost cooked, season with salt (or fish sauce), tamarind and sugar. The final dish should not be wet but the sambal should stick to the prawns shell and have permeated where you’ve slit it. Dress it up how you like!

It was darned good with the spanking fresh prawns. However it was rather hot, so if you are a wuss you might want to cut down on the number of chillies a little.

Recipe: Buttermilk Pannacotta

I’m forever forgetting and trying to reconstruct this recipe, so this is another aide memoire blog post. I use Bryn Williams’ base recipe but have been steadily dialing down the gelatine to help give it a lovely wibble. I would also advise less sugar than he recommends.

Buttermilk panna cotta

284g buttermilk (1 St. Ivel carton, available at Waitrose)
284g double cream
100g caster sugar (too much, try 50-75g to taste)
1 vanilla pod
2 leaves gelatine (specifically, Costa fine leaf gelatine – in the blue pack)

Scrape out vanilla pod and add seeds and pod to pan with double cream. Bring to boil. Remove from heat.

Whisk in soaked gelatine leaves ensuring they are completely dissolved.

Put buttermilk in bowl and pour hot cream mixture over, removing vanilla pod. Mix.

Pour mixture into small Pyrex bowl, cover with cling-film and refrigerate until set (~4 hours).

Turn out onto plate and serve with berries, poached rhubarb, etc.

Update 25 Nov 2011

OK, I’ve nailed this recipe now. I genuinely can’t see how it can be improved. Here’s the updated quantities:

Buttermilk panna cotta

284g buttermilk (1 St. Ivel carton, available at Waitrose)
284g double cream
75g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
1 + 2/3 leaves gelatine (specifically, Costa fine leaf gelatine – in the blue pack)

The only remaining problem with this recipe is that if you make one large one, as I do, it will tend to spread out a little when turned onto a plate. Doesn’t really matter though.