The sky darkens outside. Soon the heavens open and the thunder begins. The rain beats hard on the skylight and the force of the wind rattles the glass in the windows. Our holiday is nearly at an end, and this night we have chosen to cook together in the neat little kitchen in the apartment we are renting rather than going out to a restaurant. Looking out at the storm, this was a good idea.
The meal we throw together is hastily planned and improvised, but makes the most of the delicious crab we bought that morning from one of the huts along the beach.
Cooking this simple crab linguine together, with a soundtrack of the rain and enjoyed with a cold, sharp white wine, is one of our happiest memories together. Every time we make this simple and quick meal, it always takes us back the perfect evening when we first enjoyed it. It is evidence that even the quickest meal can be turned into a slow experience.
Crab and Tomato Linguine
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Olive oil, for frying
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 small shallots, finely chopped
150g cherry tomatoes
A generous splash of white wine
One dressed crab (use both the white and brown meat)
Handful of rocket leaves
Start by bringing a large pan of salted water to the boil, and cook the linguine as per the packet instructions.
Meanwhile, grind your fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar until fine.
Add a little oil to a non-stick frying pan and heat on a low-to-medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 3 minutes or until soft but not browning. Stir in the chopped garlic and finely ground fennel, and cook for a minute more, stirring as you do so.
Add your tomatoes, making sure to pierce their skin with a sharp knife before adding them to the pan. Turn the heat up slightly to help burst the skins of the tomatoes (between 5-10 minutes, but watch to make sure the garlic and shallot don't burn!) then add a generous splash of white wine and stir. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, allowing the white wine to reduce slightly and the tomatoes to fully burst.
Add the crab and stir to combine, breaking up any larger chunks of the meat. Cook until fully heated through (about 2 minutes).
Reserve a small amount of the pasta cooking water once the linguine is cooked, and then drain. Add the drained pasta into the frying pan and mix it through, adding a splash of the water to help it combine. Squeeze juice from the lemon half and mix well.
Lastly, add a good handful of rocket leaves to the frying pan and toss gently, allowing them to wilt slightly, but retaining some of their crispness. Season carefully, and serve immediately. Enjoy with good company and the rest of the wine.