Eats, Shoots & Reads

Eats #29: Uneasy Crab

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 2-3 fresh red chillies, zest and juice of a lemon, 1 fennel bulb, 140ml extra virgin olive oil, 550g fresh tinned white crab meat, 150g brown crab meat, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, medium bunch asparagus, 500g linguine pasta.

Difficulty: 2/5
Rating: 3/5

Bash the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar and place in a large heat proof bowl. De-seed and chop the chillies and finely slice the fennel with a speed peeler and add to the fennel seeds. Add the lemon juice, zest and the olive oil to create your sauce – taste and season if necessary.

Mix the brown and white crab meat and fold into the sauce. Put a saucepan of salted water onto the hob to boil and place the heatproof bowl with the crab mixture on top. While the water boils the crab mixture will warm, make sure you stir occasionally.

Once boiled take the crab mixture off the heat and put to one side and add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the instructions on the packet.

While the pasta is cooking use the speed peeler to thinly slice the asparagus. Mix the asparagus with olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon.

When the pasta’s cooked drain and reserve some of the starchy cooking water. Mix the drained pasta with the crab mixture and loosen if needed with the starchy water.

Place a pile of the crab linguine on a plate and place the strips of asparagus on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and enjoy!


Although this was a simple recipe (in theory), my head clearly wasn’t in the game during execution. Throughout I felt like I was doing the wrong thing or the recipe was wrong. The asparagus was difficult to shred and was the fennel supposed to be chunks or matchsticks, did I really need 500g of pasta??

This recipe shows how important it is to be, and feel, prepared before tackling each recipe. Read, and re-read the recipe, measure and chop ingredients first, be calm and take your time – all things I failed to do while making crab linguine.

Despite the stressed and chaotic approach to the recipe the final result was really tasty. The crab was sweet, the pasta cooked to perfection, the chilli gave it a little kick and the fennel a lovely aniseed flavour – overall a light, fresh, zingy dish.

The only tweaks I’d make to the recipe would be to chop the fennel into matchsticks rather than use a speed peeler and use a little more chilli to add a more powerful kick. I’d also like to try fresh crab meat as once again I opted for tinned as it was easier to buy, cheap and quick.

If you like pasta, give this recipe a go!

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