My mum was a proper 60s feminist and, amongst many things, she made absolutely sure I grew up doing my fair share in the kitchen and knowing how to cook. One of the plus sides of this was that I got to hang out with my mum a lot. Following the old lady’s lead I’m always roping my older daughter Rosie into helping me cook. She’s five and has helped me make bread, dress salads, peel artichokes and our most recent adventure was shelling a crab. Half anatomy lesson, half cooking lesson and nearly half eaten by Rosie before we were finished.
Anyway, this recipe is a brilliant combination of crab and orange oil and if you can’t be bothered to shell the crab yourself your fishmonger will happily do it for you I’m sure. But make sure you buy the crab already cooked as the fishmonger will be better at killing it swiftly (i.e. humanely) than you.
Gather together a sharp knife and a hammer (Rosie enjoyed this bit, eagerly hunting down the toolbox). Turn the crab belly-side up. Pull off the triangular-shaped belly flap, which is actually its abdomen. Then turn it over and pull off the shell by inserting your thumb between the body and shell at the back of the crab and pulling the shell up, or use a knife with a similar manoeuvre.
Scoop what you can out of the shell and then crack it in half, if necessary, to get the rest out. Now twist off the legs and work your way carefully through the body compartments, cutting it up where necessary to get to the good bits. Make sure to pull off the spongy gills and any bits of gristle and membrane and discard. Use the hammer to crack open the leg shells, and scoop out the nice bits.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, feed in the spaghetti and cook for the time it says on the pack, stirring a couple of times to stop it sticking.
Finely chop the garlic, halve and finely chop the chilli and roughly chop up your parsley.
Heat the orange olive oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic and chilli and fry for 1 minute. Add the crab meat to the pan with the wine, season with salt and pepper and cook off some of the wine, but not all of it.
Drain the pasta and tip it in the crab mixture. Toss in the parsley and serve.