This dish was so easy, I could have cried as I cut my onions. I had a hankering for fresh crab and, because it was a weeknight, I saved time and energy by purchasing already shelled crab (not to ever be confused with something that makes me want to gag called krab). This dish actually raised my mood from not-too-hot (about a 3 on a scale from 1 to 10) to feeling incredibly good (a good 9/9.5). Sometimes a good dinner can just do that. The lemon brightened the finished product up, the fennel gave it a bit of crunch and sweetness. Crab and fresh cherry tomatoes always remind me of warm summer days which, naturally, make me smile.
If we had any leftovers I would’ve loved to have tasted it cold. I actually think it could make a great may0-less pasta salad. You could also chop up some sauteed softshell crabs and use them instead of the fresh crab. Maybe I’ll wait for a real summer day to give that a try. Until then, I urge you to give this a try!
- 1 lb of pasta, your choice
- 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (use a bit less if you prefer, i like to taste my oil)
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced (again, use less if you’re not a huge garlic lover)
- 1 teaspoon peperoncino
- 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups fresh lump crab meat
- juice of one lemon
- salt and pepper
- fennel fronds and/or fresh basil, chopped
What to do:
- Add the minced garlic (minus the reserved 1 tablespoon), a pinch of peperoncino and olive oil to a pan. Slowly heat it on low (or medium low) to infuse the oil with the flavors of the garlic. I usually allow it to lowly and gently warm for about a half hour. (NOTE: **You can also take a short-cut and skip to Step 3 if you choose to. The longer way takes more time, but the flavor intensifies if you give the oil time to gently warm.)
- Boil salted water for your pasta. Cook pasta.
- While pasta is cooking, in a new pan, add a few tablespoons of the infused oil and saute the fennel and onion and tomatoes for a minute or two on medium heat. Add the garlic and peperoncino-infused oil to the pan and allow the garlic to get some color and is lightly browned. Kill the heat until the pasta is ready.
- When pasta is done, turn heat back on low, and add it to the oil mixture. Toss in the crab meat and lemon juice. Toss pasta. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Toss again. Plate up and sprinkle some chopped fennel fronds or basil on top (or fry up some slices of leeks if you feel like being fancy). Enjoy!