Currabinny Cooks: Crab linguine with chilli and cherry tomatoes 

Plus a zingy salad and a soothing broth and how to cook a crab properly 
Currabinny Cooks: Crab linguine with chilli and cherry tomatoes 

Crab Linguine Photo: Bríd O'Donovan

Brown crabs have been fished off Ireland's coastal waters since people arrived here. Crabs have mainly played second fiddle to the more prized catch of lobsters. Although lobster is indeed delicious and packed full of rich decadent flavour, it is crab we find ourselves craving more often. In general crab meat is sweeter and more tender than lobsters, although there is less of it.

Irish Brown Crab (Cancer pagurus) can occupy a range of habitats from sandy gravel seabeds to rocky reefs. These habitats cover a wide range of depths from rock pools along the seashore to depths of 200 metres. Irish Brown Crab is landed in all major and many smaller ports around the Irish coast. They can be recognised by their distinctive “pie-crust” carapace, which is reddish-brown on the upper side and pale, creamy yellow underneath. Its very large, black-tipped claws equip the Irish Brown Crab with very effective tools for feeding and fighting – if you look closely you will see one claw has developed as a cutting tool while the other is designed as a crusher. Irish brown crab is a good source of protein and saturated fats and may therefore form an essential part of a healthy diet. The white meat from the claws is a high protein source and low in fat whilst the brown meat from the body is both high in protein and a fatty acid source.

You can buy great quality cooked Irish crabmeat, sometimes separated into brown and white meats and sometimes mixed together. You can also get just the claws which are delicious fried in butter on a hot pan. If you are using live crabs, pop them in the freezer for 30 minutes before cooking them in a large pot of boiling water with lots of salt. They need around 10 minutes with the lid on at which point you drain them and leave them to cool naturally.

Now you can remove the white meat and brown meat from the crab. The brown meat is really rich, tasty and creamy. The white meat is delicate and sweet. They're quite different flavours but both are beautiful and fresh, and can be used in a variety of ways.

Pull off the two large claws and crack open with a rolling pin or the back of a heavy knife. Carefully pick out the meat, which is known as white meat. Turn the crab shell upside down. Hold the shell down and grasp the small legs. Pull to remove the underneath of the crab, exposing the inside of the main shell where you'll find the brown meat. This varies in colour and texture but is all edible. Ensure the gills or 'dead man's fingers' are removed - these are grey and feathery and are not edible.

Crab Linguine with chilli and cherry tomatoes

recipe by:Currabinny Cooks

Rich, indulgent and summery, this dish is a yummy family meal with a spicy twist and sprinkle of grated cheese

Crab Linguine with chilli and cherry tomatoes

Servings

4

Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

15 mins

Total Time

25 mins

Course

Main

Cuisine

Italian

Ingredients

  • 275g white & brown crab meat

  • 30ml white wine

  • 8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped

  • large handful of parsley, finely chopped

  • 200ml cream

  • 300g Linguine

  • zest of ½ lemon

  • sea salt

  • black pepper

  • olive oil

  • 80g Parmesan, grated

Method

  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve a little of the cooking water.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat.

  3. Add the garlic and chilli to the hot and oil and stir around the pan for a minute or two, enough for the garlic to become fragrant but not long enough for it to burn.

  4. Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and cook for another two minutes. Add the wine to the pan and let it simmer down. Turn the heat down a little and season with sea salt, black pepper and the zest of ½ lemon.

  5. Add the crabmeat, half the chopped parsley and 2 tbsp of the reserved pasta water. Finely pour in the cream and let the whole lot simmer for around 5 minutes. Check the seasoning, it may need a pinch more sea salt.

  6. Add the drained Linguine to the frying pan and toss everything together along with the grated parmesan. Garnish liberally with the rest of the chopped parsley and a final crack of black pepper.

Crab claw salad with asparagus and fennel

recipe by:Currabinny Cooks

Elegant yet simple, this light salad is perfect for summertime eating, combining tender asparagus with a tangy, lemon twist

Crab claw salad with asparagus and fennel

Servings

2

Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

2 mins

Total Time

12 mins

Course

Starter

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus

  • 8 cooked crab claws

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 fennel bulb

  • handful of chives, finely chopped

  • small handful tarragon/chervil, chopped

  • 50g butter

Method

  1. Trim the stalks off the fennel bulb, reserving any of the herb. Cut the bulb in half and then cut into very thin slices. Arrange the slices on a serving platter or split between two serving plates. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one of the halves over the slices of fennel. Season lightly with a little sea salt.

  2. Break off the woody ends of each asparagus spear and place in a pot of boiling salted water over a medium high heat. Blanch for 3-4 minutes, so that they are just about cooked through, still with their lovely bright green colour and a nice bite. Drain and place on top of the fennel slices. Season the asparagus with a small pinch of sea salt.

  3. In a small frying pan, heat the butter over a medium high heat until melted and bubbling. Add the crab claws to the pan and let sizzle away in the melted butter for around 2 minutes. When the butter starts to turn brown, squeeze in the juice of the other half of the lemon.

  4. Add the chives and either tarragon or chervil to the pan and stir everything together. Take off the heat. Arrange the crab claws over and around the asparagus and fennel.

  5. Pour over the buttery pan juices and serve.

Ginger broth with crab and tenderstem broccoli

recipe by:Currabinny Cooks

The flavours of this broth are clean and zesty, with warmth from the chilli and ginger – sharp broccoli is delicious with fresh, tender crab

Ginger broth with crab and tenderstem broccoli

Servings

4

Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

15 mins

Total Time

25 mins

Course

Main

Ingredients

  • 200g tenderstem broccoli

  • 1 ginger thumb, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, bashed

  • 1l stock

  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced

  • 1 tbsp miso paste

  • 100g white crabmeat

  • handful of coriander

Method

  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the tenderstem broccoli, cooking for 3-4 minutes until tender but still nice and green. Drain the broccoli and refresh immediately In cold water.

  2. In another large saucepan, pour in a litre of good quality vegetable stock. Add the ginger matchsticks and the bashed lemongrass stalk to the liquid and bring to the boil. Reduce the broth to a simmer.

  3. Add the chilli, spring onion and tablespoon of miso broth and leave to simmer for further two minutes. Take off the heat or turn it down low and add the tenderstem broccoli and crab meat to the hot broth. Garnish with plenty of fresh coriander leaves.

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