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Brown crab tartelettes

Recettes de septembre

By Natoora Natoora

Zita with Sardines and Wild Fennel


      Serves 3-4

    * 500g Filleted Sardines
    * 500g Zita (or bucatini)
    * 500g Wild Fennel
    * 1 Large Onion
    * 3 Anchovies
    * 50g Raisins
    * 50g Pine Nuts
    * 0.15g Saffron
    * Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    * Salt and Pepper

  * Tomato Passata*
    * Breadcrumbs*
    * Flaked Almonds*

*optional, see end of recipe

Before you start you will need to soak the raisins in lukewarm water for half an hour to soften. Then boil the most tender and fluffy part of your wild fennel bunches in plenty of salted water. You need to reuse the water and pot to cook the pasta afterwards as it will give the pasta extra flavour. After 20 minutes, drain the fennel and thinly chop.

While the fennel is boiling, rinse the sardines under cold running water and dry them with some kitchen roll.

Fry them one minute each side in hot extra virgin olive oil, drain the excess oil and keep them on the side. In the same pan, fry the thinly chopped onion until golden, then add the fennel and the sardines, the raisins, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, take the anchovies and rinse well to wash away some excess salt. Dry them with kitchen roll then melt them on a low heat with some olive oil. Add the anchovies to the sauce and keep cooking for a further 15 minutes. Add the saffron after diluting in a spoonful of hot water.

Now you will need to start cooking the pasta in the water from earlier. Our zita will need around 7 minutes. When the pasta is ready, toss it in the pan with the sauce. Ideally, leave for 10 minutes before serving (you can keep it hot in the oven).

*You can vary the recipe the following ways:
Tomato Passata: Add a few spoonfuls to the sauce in the last 15 minutes of cooking to make the sauce less "dry".
Breadcrumbs: Fry them in a little extra virgin olive oil and use to top the dish.
Flaked Almonds: Sprinkle some right before serving.


Brown Crab Meat Tarts

Serves 10

    * 75g brown crab meat
    * 1 yellow courgette, finely chopped
    * Butter
    * 1 tbsp white wine (we recommend Chablis)
    * 1/4 tsp English mustard
    * 1 finely chopped shallot
    * 1 tbsp double cream
    * 10g grated Montgomerys cheddar
    * 1 tbsp wholemeal breadcrumbs
    * A small handful of chopped parsley
    * Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    * Salt and Pepper

For the tartlets:

    * 190g plain flour
    * 100g unsalted butter
    * 1 large egg yolk, lightly whisked
    * Iced water

Brown crab meat is packed with flavour and perfect for a tasty summer nibble. Try making your own tart cases with this easy recipe, and just spoon in the delicious homemade filling to really impress your tastebuds!

To make the tartlets, sift the flour into a medium bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the whisked egg yolk and about 1 to 1 and half tablespoons of iced water. Stir with a spatula to form a soft dough, adding more water if needed.

Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Shape into a disk, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C and cut the pastry with a 5cm round cutter. Then place the rounds into small 4cm wide tartlet tins. Prick the base of each pastry case with a fork and bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool in the tin.

Now for the crab meat. Heat some butter and gently sautee the shallot and courgette for a minute, then add the mustard and wine and simmer until the wine has evaporated. Add the crab meat and cream and season well. Bring to the boil and simmer for around a minute. If the mixture is thick it is ready for the cheese, if it is not, simmer for a bit longer. Then stir in the cheese and use the mixture to fill the tartlets. Place on a baking sheet.

Now mix the breadcrumbs, the parsley and a small knob of melted butter. Spoon onto the tartlets and place under a medium grill to colour lightly. 


Courgette Carpaccio


Serves 4

    * 8 Courgettes, young and tender
    * 1 Large Lemon
    * Sprig of Mint
    * Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    * Salt and Pepper



Slice the courgettes lengthways very thinly. You can use the biggest slots on a cheesegrater, or use a mandoline if you have one.

Mix together the juice of a large lemon with the mint, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Leave the courgettes to season for a couple of hours in this mix.

Courgettes like this are the perfect accompaniment to barbequed lamb chops or grilled fish. You could even try them with some tender lamb burgers in a fresh bun.


Aubergine Parmigiana

Serves 2

    * 1 aubergine
    * Olive Oil
    * Plain flour (for dusting)
    * 1 ball of Mozzarella
    * 75g grated parmesan
    * 50g fresh basil
    * 350g cherry or datterini tomatoes
    * 1-2 carrots
    * 1 clove of garlic
    * 1 Lemon
    * 1 teaspoon sugar
    * 1 chilli
    * 1 tablespoon tomato puree
    * Salt & pepper

First the sauce. Halve the tomatoes, grate the carrot, finely chop the chilli and crush the clove of garlic. Heat a generous dollop of oil in a pan and add the tomatoes and carrot. After about 5 minutes, pop in the chilli and garlic, a teaspoon of sugar and season. Add the tomato puree and leave to simmer for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes and carrots have softened and can easily be crushed. Finally, add a squeeze of lemon juice to freshen. If you prefer, you can pulse the mixture at this point to create a smooth sauce, or crush with a fork for a more rustic version.

Now it's time to prepare that lovely summer aubergine. Slice thinly lengthways to get long ovals. These will form the layers. Heat a small amout of oil in a frying pan while you dust the slices with seasoned flour (just a dash of salt and pepper will do). Fry until softened and the flour coating is turning slightly golden.

Now the fun bit! Layer in a baking dish the tomato sauce (a light coating per layer), aubergine slices, a few basil leaves and cheeses until you've used all the ingredients. Top with a bit of extra cheese and a dash of olive oil and place in the oven (190C, Gas 5) for 25 minutes until golden and bubbling. 


To buy the ingredients


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