Crabs pinch public opinion in half. Some folks love their delicious taste, while others are terrified of their many-legged scheming.
As anyone will tell you, you should never trust a crab; if you foolishly invest your faith in one of these mortifying sea-arachnids, you can rest assured of your imminent downfall via merciless pinching. What I’m saying is, bring your net; but bring your wits, too.
Some unfortunates may leave both in their garage upon departure and need to source their feed in some other way. Such bunglers could walk barefoot through the shallows, enticingly spreading and wriggling their toes, or don scuba gear and steal from the crab nets of people who actually know what they are doing. However, Camper recommends the more straightforward method of going to the shops or local seafood merchant.
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Of course, make sure you only take legal crabs from the ocean; get yourself one of those indispensable little crab measurers or wrestle the flailing beast up onto the metal sign, standing oddly high thanks to some comedian in fisheries. It’s important to leave undersized crabs in the ocean, in order to keep all those underwater ecosystems in good health and so that the ingrate of a released crab can rip your feet open when you return to this quaint seaside village next year.
Cook time: 45 minutes
- Three to four blue swimmer crabs
- 500g pasta, preferably linguine or spaghetti
- 200g can of diced tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Two spoons of minced garlic
- 1 red chilli
First of all, there’s the matter of preparing your crabs. You can’t simply drop them into a bag of pasta and then voila. When you arrive back at camp from the jetty with your crabs in a bucket, transfer them to fresh water for 30 minutes, then put them into the freezer for a while — half an hour, an hour, however long the interval may be. This is the humane thing to do. However, make sure to warn Jimmy so he doesn’t lose a finger when obtaining a Zooper Dooper.
Then, get some fresh water boiling in a large pot, with a pinch of salt, and add the crabs, whole. Cook them for seven to twelve minutes; they should start to float when they are just about ready. When you remove them, chuck them into cold fresh water, either in a sink or a clean bucket, and leave them there for about 10 minutes to cool down a bit before picking off the edible meat.
While you are preparing the crab, in the background be preparing the pasta. Cook up the pasta on one of your burners as per normal. On another burner, add some oil to a pan, then add in chilli and garlic and spread them around. Let this fry for a minute or two and then add the tomatoes in, along with a generous amount of pepper. Taste to check you've got the mix right. Cook and allow to thicken. Once the crab meat is picked and ready, add it to the meal. You do not want to overcook it, as it is already cooked, so this is really just about heating it up again to a nice temperature and letting some of the flavours mix.
Drain the pasta and mix it together with the rest under heat in the pan. If you wanted to fill this out into a slightly more balanced meal with veggies, you could add halved cherry tomatoes (on top of the canned tomatoes) and shallots. A squeeze of lemon won't hurt either; if you want to get real fancy you can add lemon rind too (at the same time you add the diced tomatoes). The whole meal will go best with a white wine if you're drinking.