Friday, November 26

Nigel Slater’s Recipes for Crab Soup and Raspberry Oatmeal Pie | Food


THere’s a laborious, yet beautiful, way to make crab soup. You scoop the meat out of the claws and scoop out the rust-red meat from the shell. Then, smash the skins with a hammer, soften the onions with the chopped celery and carrots, and add the tomato puree and brandy. Next, flambé and pass the batch through a strainer and soften it with cream. It takes a whole morning, and you wear enough equipment to make it look like your kitchen has cooked an entire wedding buffet instead of a bowl of soup. It is a recipe for a rainy day.

If you fancy something fresher, brighter and without cream, a quick and light soup and eminently suitable for a summer day, then I have the alternative recipe for you. You need seasoned crab (white or brown meat or a little of both), a bag of sweet and sour tomatoes, a drop of nam pla and lime juice for a spicy kick, and a couple of small, ripe chili peppers the size of a child’s little finger. baby. The result is on the table in half an hour, it is as good cold as hot, and the freshness of the ozone of the seafood is not lost in a haze of alcohol and cream.

Last weekend I brought the soup to the table with a plate of sliced ​​lemons for everyone to add a last minute squeeze of juice and a bowl of coriander leaves for those for whom crab is not the same without it. A salad followed, a jumble of watercress and paler buttery lettuce, pickled silver-skinned anchovies, and hot croutons that she had tossed into a skillet with butter and crushed garlic, then mixed with the leaves. The dressing was a thick, shaky mayonnaise that had been left to a poured consistency with a little cream and a splash of tarragon vinegar.

As always in these heady days of a slowly ripening summer, we end up with fruit. Raspberries are at their most fragrant right now. Crushed, they smell like a glass of beaujolais. I can’t think of them without remembering Scottish cranachan, that glorious and almost forgotten blend of toasted oatmeal, raspberries, and cream. This week I rearranged those ingredients to give a dessert that ticked all the boxes: a crunchy flapjack-style toasted oatmeal base layered with vanilla cream cheese and sprinkled with raspberries. Let the summer continue.

A tomato and crab soup.

I’ve had a hard time tracking brown crab meat lately, but the soup works well with pure white crab flakes, if that’s what you’ve got. This is a recipe to make quickly, preserving all the fresh, tomato-peppered vibrancy that makes for a summertime soup. If coriander isn’t your thing, use mint leaves instead, or perhaps Thai basil, introducing a light note of anise instead. For 3 people

Spring onions 5
Lemongrass 3 stems
olive oil 2 tablespoons
hot red chili peppers 2
Tomatoes 450g
chicken or vegetable broth 500ml
Orange juice of 1 small fruit
Crabmeat 350g, mix of white and brown
nam pla (fish sauce) 1 tablespoon
lime 1
cilantro 1 small bunch

Thinly slice the chives, peel the outer leaves of the lemongrass, and cut the tender inner leaves into paper-thin slices. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the chives and lemongrass, and let them soften for 3-4 minutes without turning any color.

Cut in half, remove seeds and finely chop the chiles and add them to the pan. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, mix with the onions, let them soften for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the broth and orange juice. When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat, add the crab meat, nam pla, and a little salt, then lower the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes (just). Squeeze the lime juice. Coarsely chop the cilantro and stir.

Raspberry Oatmeal Cake

Red Alert: This fruity oatmeal cake will soften wonderfully overnight.
Red Alert: This fruity oatmeal cake will soften wonderfully overnight. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin / The Observer

The crunchy oatmeal base can be made a day in advance if you prefer and assembled at the last minute. The cake will stay crisp for an hour or two, but will soften (deliciously) if left overnight. Let the yogurt drip into a strainer over a bowl so that it is really firm when you are ready to mix it with the mascarpone and flavorings. Makes 8 servings

butter 115g
light muscovado sugar 115g
oatmeal 70g
oatmeal 70g
Salt ½ teaspoon
sunflower seeds 2 tablespoons

For filling:
mascarpone cheese 400g
thick Greek-style yogurt 250g
liquid honey 2 tablespoons
vanilla extract 1 tsp
raspberries 350g

Preheat oven to 200C / gas mark 6. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, add the sugar and allow it to almost dissolve, then add the oats, salt and seeds.

Place a 20cm loose bottom cake pan on a baking sheet. Pour half of the mixture into the can and press down firmly with the back of a spoon, making sure to go directly to the edges. Spread the rest of the mixture loosely, without compacting, on a second baking sheet. Bake both for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and slightly crisp (the loose mixture may take a little longer).

Remove from the oven and let cool. (I like to run a spatula around the edge of the cake pan while the oatmeal is still warm, to loosen the base.)

For the filling: pour the yogurt into a strainer and place on a bowl of the right size to drain. (You will get very little serum, but you don’t want a “wet” filler.) Half an hour should be enough, but you can leave it on overnight if you want.

In a bowl, combine the mascarpone, drained yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract. Loosen the oatmeal base from its can, but keep the can in place, then pour the mascarpone mixture over the base, up to the edges, then spread the rest of the toasted oatmeal mixture over the top. Arrange raspberries on top of oatmeal, neatly or as desired, then cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater




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