by Anika Mshuja
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Food is all about enjoyment, entertaining and the joining of friends and family. I love finding show stopping recipes and adding my own spin to them. If it happens to be easy, then even better!
When crab is in season, there is nothing better than creating a show stopping meal for your friends to think you slaved away in the kitchen and it makes for an amazing presentation on the table. Crab looks intimidating, but really it is all about simple technique and simple tools.
When I think of crab, garlic and fresh herbs enters my mind, and of course the sinful butter that accompanies it. The key is to have really fresh and high quality ingredients to go with your crab. Another great side dish to go with your centerpiece is hot pasta with similar accent flavors that don’t take away from your crab such as artichokes, capers, and lemon, which go great together.
First order of business is to learn to clean your crab before cooking. If you are unsure of how to clean crab have your fish monger or local grocer take care of this for you, and if they are really helpful ask them to pre-crack your crab. You want your crab pre boiled and on ice when you buy it.
Below is a list of essential ingredients for your show stopping meal. You will make this meal time and time again as it will become a family favorite.
(Dinner for 2)
2 crab (pre-boiled and cracked)
1 bunch of lemon thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of parsley (flat leaf or rustic)
4 cloves of garlic
1 lemon (cut to wedges)
1 ½ sticks of high quality butter unsalted
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 box of think ribbon pasta
3 Tablespoons of chopped marinated artichoke hearts
3 Tablespoons of capers
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
Fresh parmesan cheese (pasta topping optional)
2 nut crackers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
On a roasting pan, place all the pre-cleaned and cracked crab in an even layer and set aside. On the stove top, preheat a shallow wide sauté pan and place 1 stick of butter and melt at medium heat. While that is heating up, gently chop the lemon thyme, rosemary and garlic into fine pieces. Once the butter has melted, add 1 chicken bouillon cube and break up until dissolved into the butter in the pan. Once dissolved, add the lemon, thyme, rosemary and garlic and cook until lightly brown. After the oven has pre-heated and your butter mixture is ready, spoon over one layer of butter mixture to your crab but just coating it lightly. Place the crab in the oven and cook for a total of 20 minutes, basting with the butter mixture every 7 minutes, reserving 1 tablespoon of herb and garlic mixture for your pasta.
While the crab is roasting in the oven, start boiling your hot water for your pasta and chop up your parsley and cilantro.
When the crab has finished cooking after 20 minutes, remove from the oven and place crab on your serving platter for the table. Then sprinkle the fresh chopped parsley and cilantro on top of the crab for freshness.
After the pasta is cooked and drained, add remaining ½ sick if butter to the remaining butter mixture and reheat until butter is melted. Place cooked pasta in your shallow sauté pan with the butter mixture and add 3 tablespoons of capers and 3 tablespoons of chopped marinated artichoke hearts. Toss with butter mixture until completely distributed. Place pasta on another serving platter along with fresh cut lemon wedges and parmesan cheese.
Serve and enjoy!