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Author Notes: Dairy Free This recipe for crab linguine has a very clean flavour of crab with a depth of flavour created by condensing the crab steaming liquid and adding it back to the dish. This dish is sure to impress. You can prepare step 2 in advance and then prepare this dish very quickly before serving.
- 500 milliliters dry white wine
- 2 crabs- about 1.5 pounds each (preferably female (have a wider tail than the males)- don’t buy any missing legs as they are probably old, squeeze the underside near the tail to ensure it’s not soft or there will be very little meat inside)
- 350 grams dried linguine
- 60 milliliters extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 pinch dried chilli flakes
- 1 bunch asparagus, about 180 gms- washed, stems snapped off and shaved with a vegetable peeler or sliced 2 mm
- 20 milliliters lemon juice
- 10 grams flat leaf parsley, washed and finely chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- Sea salt
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- Bring to a boil 7 litres of water with 3 tablespoons of salt added to cook the pasta in. Do not add oil to the water.
- To prepare the crab: Pour the wine into a deep pot and add the crabs. Turn the heat on to medium and bring the wine to a simmer. Put the lid on and once the wine starts to steam (5 to 7 minutes), allow the crabs to steam for 10 to 13 minutes depending on the size of the crab.
- The crab will have changed colour when they are cooked.
- Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the crabs to a cutting board and allow to cool down.
- For an illustrated step-by-step guide on cleaning crab click this link. When cool, pull off the claws and the legs, twisting at the joint. Crack them with a mallet, lobster crackers, or with the back of a heavy knife and pick all the meat out with a spoon handle. Pull the shell away from the body using a spoon. Throw away any plastic membranes, the guts (not the orange crab roe though), and the grey spongy bits (dead man’s fingers or the crab’s gills) which taste terrible. Pick out all the meat from the body. Reserve all the shells and put them back into the wine and bring to a boil, reducing until you have 375 ml of liquid left (10 to 15 minutes).
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the crabs into the strainer to strain the liquid.
- Reserve the liquid.
- Add the linguine to the salted water and cook for 2 minutes less than according to the timing on the package. Drain the pasta and do not rinse, add immediately to the sauce below.
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat until hot, add the olive oil, garlic, shallot, and dried chilli.
- Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, but before the garlic turns golden.
- Add the the crab meat and the shaved asparagus to the pan.
- Add the crab cooking liquid.
- Cook for 5 minutes until the asparagus has softened. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn off the heat and then add the pasta, parsley and two egg yolks, stirring through, turn the heat on low and bring the sauce to a simmer for 1 minute until the sauce has thickened.
- Add the linguine and toss to combine.
- Serve with freshly cracked black pepper over the top.
- NOTES Please note that the preparation time will vary according to the size of the crabs. If one large crab is used the time to clean it will be shorter and if several small crabs are used then the time to clean them will be longer. Short cut: Buy 300 gms pre-picked white crab meat (instead of whole crabs) and 250 mls fish stock. Skip steps 2-7. Place 250 mls fish stock and 250 mls white wine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes until reduced by half to 250 mls. Follow the rest of the recipe adding the bought crab in place of the picked crab and the reduced fish stock with wine for the crab cooking liquid. Add another 45 mls (3 tablespoons) of olive oil in step 15 as store bought crab is often drier. If you don't have fish stock, you can reduce 500 mls (2 cups) of white wine with 45 mls (3 tablespoons) of fish sauce.