- 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil, plus a little to serve
If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…
- 1 onion, chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 1 fennel bulb, fronds picked and reserved, bulb chopped
Like Marmite, fennel is something that you either love or hate – its strong aniseed…
- 1 carrot, chopped
The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 200g crabmeat (half brown meat, half white meat) or 1 medium whole crab
- pinch of saffron
The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…
- 3 tbsp brandy
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…
- 1l good-quality fish stock (or make your own if using a whole crab - see tip, below)
- 100ml double cream
- zest 1 lemon, plus a squeeze of juice
Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…
- 2 slices white bread, crusts removed, cut into croutons
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, fennel, carrot and bay leaves with a pinch of salt and cook for 10 mins until really tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more, then stir in the tomato purée for another 1 min. Add the brown crabmeat, saffron, brandy and some pepper, stirring until the brandy has bubbled away. Add the stock and stir until smooth. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15-20 mins or until the vegetables are soft.
Using a hand blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve back into a clean saucepan, making sure you push through as much liquid as possible. Add the cream and simmer for another 5 mins – the soup should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add a few drops of lemon juice, taste and season or add more lemon if necessary, then chill until ready to serve.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the croutons with the remaining oil, the lemon zest and some black pepper on a baking tray. Bake for 10 mins, tossing halfway through, until crisp and golden. Leave to cool, then store in a plastic container until ready to serve. The soup and croutons can be made up to 1 day ahead.
To serve, reheat the soup and divide between shallow soup bowls. Spoon a mound of white crabmeat into the centre of each bowl, then drizzle with a little oil and add a few of the reserved fennel fronds. Float a few croutons on top and serve with a little extra black pepper, if you like.
Using fresh crabIf you can get a fresh crab, it will make a delicious stock. Boil the crab in 2 litres of water (or enough to cover the crab) for 30 mins. Remove it from the stock and leave to cool. Pick the meat from the crab, keeping the brown and white meat separate. Strain the liquid and boil until reduced to 1 litre, then use as above.