Spaghetti with Crab, Lemon & Chilli

Photo © Franz Scheurer

Serves 6 as an entrée

500g spaghetti
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 red onion, finely diced
Salt flakes, to taste 
1 teaspoon sambal oelek (see notes)
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed
1 lemon, zest finely grated, juiced
200g cooked crabmeat (see notes)
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add pasta, stir well and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente (cooked, but still retaining a ‘bite’ in the centre). 

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over low-medium heat, add onion and a good pinch of salt, cover and cook for a few minutes, until soft but not coloured. Remove from heat. Stir in sambal oelek, capers, lemon zest and lemon juice, cover and set aside. 

When the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving some of the cooking water. 

Return frying pan to the heat and add pasta, crabmeat, parsley and a splash of the pasta cooking water and toss together for a few minutes to combine well. 

Divide between warmed serving bowls, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

Notes: Sambal oelek is an Asian paste of salt and chillies, a quick way to get a chilli kick into any dish, not just Asian ones; substitute 1 small red chilli finely chopped if you prefer. Pick meat from 1 x 800g cooked mud crab, 2 x 300g cooked blue swimmer crabs or 2 x 400g spanner crabs. Alternatively, buy good quality frozen Australian crabmeat such as Ceas (Queensland spanner crabs); check it carefully for any remaining bits of cartilage or shell and drain it well. Be aware that most other frozen crabmeat is imported and can be quite watery when thawed. Remove crabmeat from fridge about 30 minutes before you start cooking, to allow it to come to room temperature.

Alternative species: Cooked prawns.

Visit www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au/seafood-school/about-sss for more great seafood recipes and cooking tips, advice on purchasing and storing seafood, species information and answers to frequently asked seafood questions.