A crab jambalaya

I forgot to mention that Courtney Barnett was pretty good.

She broke the cardinal rule and changed over guitars as she went along but as both of them made a pretty good noise it stopped mattering after a while. So long as you can make a good noise out of it I am happy and she more than made good noises. There was some Neil Young in the noise that she made but then as she headed into the final stretch and she played Pedestrian at best and then Nobody really cares if you don’t go to the party she hit a grungier stride that brought a big smile to my face.

Saturday afternoon and there were two crabs sitting in the salad drawer of the fridge in the basement. Wards have started to take over a large part of the aisle that they occupy in Birkenhead Market. The stall on their right has now got a vast lobster and crab tank installed in it. They are bathed in a blue light. A live crab provides a good opportunity to get your hands dirty and indulge in some proper cooking.

I had woken up thinking of crab. One of my favourite recipes is crab with linguine – just cooked pasta into which a mixture of crab meat, lemon juice, garlic, chilli and olive oil is stirred – but that felt too light for a Saturday night. After some digging around I found a recipe for a crab jambalaya which was sold to the kids as a kind of paella.

The two crabs were cooked in salty water for twenty minutes. After being allowed to cool I went at them with a nut-cracker and picking tool listening to Talking Heads and with a glass of beer to hand.

Forty minutes later I was left with a pile of brown meat and white meat and suitably dirty fingers. The detritus went back into a pan with some olive oil and after it caught some colour water was added and simmered for twenty minutes or so to make a rough crab stock. I was determined to wring every once of flavour out of them.

The dish was straight-forward to make. Onions and sweet peppers were cooked down in olive oil. Garlic and chillies were stirred in along with a bay leave. After some more cooking I stirred in a couple of cups of the tomato soup that was left over from lunch, rice and the crab stock. A lid went on and I sat down and read the paper for twenty minutes. The heat was turned off and it was all left to settle for 15 minutes whilst I read some more of the paper.

It went down surprisingly well.


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