I stood at the fish counter for a long time, trying to decide which crab meat to purchase to satisfy my craving for pasta with crab. Upon closely inspecting the jars, it became apparent my choices were restricted to crustaceans from either the Philippines or India. Being the conscientious food buyer you have come to know and love, I try to buy sustainable seafood that is not flown in thousands of miles and which is not endangered (do you know that if we keep on fishing at the rate we are going, the oceans will be depleted of edible seafood by 2048??). Obviously both options were not appealing and also, maybe unfairly, I have images of fish farms in South East Asia with more relaxed rules when it comes to food safety.
The fish monger finally came to my aid – can such a word, fish monger, still be used in a world where single product stores like greengrocer, butchers and fishmongers have all but disappeared?
“I have Alaskan King Crab”. Long, orange claws beckoned, the large squat body lying next to them in an improbable feat of anatomical rearrangement. Before I knew it, three long legs had been wrapped and were sitting on top of my shopping cart. The lovely man had offered to remove the meat but in a stoic attempt at self-sufficiency I told him I was perfectly capable of doing it. A decision I promptly regretted while standing by my kitchen sink, where I had to resort to a couple of towels to hold and snap the legs with, in a feeble attempt not to get punctured.
Snapping the legs at the joint pretty much guarantees that the meat will slip out, still attached to its cartilage and all you have to do is pull it gently. For the most obtuse meat, a pair of poultry scissors and some deep digging will come in handy. And the effort is well worth it. So much more flavorful than farm raised crab meat from South East Asia.
RECIPE – serves 4 to 6
1 # Spaghetti
1# Crab Legs
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
3 T Olive oil
Red Pepper Flakes to taste
1 Garlic Clove
2T Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper
- Heat the oil in a sauce pan and add the peeled and smashed garlic clove and let cook for a couple of minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, the chopped parsley and the red pepper flakes. Let cook for a few minutes and add the crab meat (if uncooked – some markets will sell the crab already cooked, in which case add the meat at the very last).
- Let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the garlic, taste the sauce and add salt as needed.
- Cook the spaghetti in salted water, drain them and add them to the sauce pan. Mix well, sprinkle with black pepper and serve.