Sunday 2 October 2011

A real crab meal

crab boats in Cromer, Norfolk
Following on from the last post about my enjoyment of the farmers´ market on Sundays... last week I was drawn to some good looking dressed crabs. I love crabmeat and it is not so often that I find fresh ones around here.

I have a huge dislike of 'crab sticks'- processed sticks served in Japanese restaurants, made from white fish flesh faking the taste of real crab. To me, they don’t look or taste anything like it. Only 25-30% of white fish is mixed with egg whites, wheat starch, tapioca starch, isolated soy protein, salt, sugar, sorbitol, crab extract, crab flavouring, then a layer of calcium carbonate (chalk) is applied to give the white colour. As if it wasn’t enough, food colouring is applied to the outside of the mixture to imitate a crab leg. Let’s not fake it.

Just want to make a point here… I made a very simple crab linguine, because the flavour of the crabmeat shouldn’t be overpowered by other ingredients.  My friend Nick, who is Italian and a good cook, suggested that I add some anchovies, but I ran out. Well, will have to try it again (as if I need an excuse to indulge in crabmeat, while in season).

The crab meat I bought was (not literally) hand-caught Cromer Crab from the Norfolk Coast.

in the queue to buy fresh seafood from the Norfolk Coast
the dressed crabs that caught my eye
they are now in my kitchen

              some of the other ingredients for the pasta
separate the white from the brown meat
sautee the chilli and garlic
add the wine and let it simmer
my real crab spaghetti! 

Linguine with Cromer crab, red chilli and garlic
Serves 4

Crab is a succulent delicacy that is a great source of animal protein! Try to get fresh crab from a trusted source. Do not overcook the meat, so you don’t lose out on its healthy nutrients.


400g Kamut® spaghetti or normal spaghetti or linguine
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 whole dressed crabs, white and brown meat separated
5 tablespoons of white wine
Large handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
Squeeze of lemon


Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Give it a good stir and boil for one minute less than the pack says. Stir well (occasionally) so it doesn't stick.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil with the red chilli and garlic in a pan large enough to hold all the pasta. Sautee the chilli and garlic very gently until they start to sizzle, turn up the heat and add the wine.

Simmer until the wine and olive oil come together. Chop the brown crabmeat, add it to the pan and mix well until it becomes a thick sauce. Leave it on a very low heat.

When the pasta is done, turn off the heat. Lift the pasta from the water into the sauce.

Now, take the pan off the heat, add the white crabmeat and coriander to the pasta and season. Stir everything together really well, adding a drop of the pasta water if it starts to get sticky.

Taste for seasoning, add a squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil.

Some of the ingredients and their healthy benefits

Crab (Cancer pagurus): It is rich in chromium, which helps insulin metabolize sugar and therefore lowers blood glucose levels in the body. It also increases levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in the body. Crab is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids that prevent blood platelets from clumping and reduces the ‘stickiness’ of blood cells, avoiding blood clots. Crab also contains high levels of selenium - a powerful antioxidant which cancels out carcinogenic effects of heavy metals like cadmium, mercury and arsenic.

Chilli (Capsicum annum, C. frutescens ): It contains capsaicin, a compound well known in scientific research as a pain reliever and digestive aid, which also has cardiovascular benefits. Capsaicin has the ability to lower blood temperature (it may induce perspiration in cases of fever). It stimulates the metabolic rate, stimulating and burning the fat.

Garlic(Allium sativum): Previously mentioned here 

Till next week!


  1. I always prided myself in my crab linguine, but this recipe looks like it could beat it. I'll just have to try (without the anchovies).

  2. Dear Helena, your crab linguine still is the top for me. x


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