Having given birth to our little baby son Ethan, my wife demanded a crab and shellfish supper - previously off limits during pregnancy. This is the result of my high street forage. Clearly champagne is an expensive ingredient - we had a flat glass leftover from celebrations. Dry white wine, reduced fish stock or bisque would work just as well but it doesn't sound as cool does it?
For two giant portions:
A small dressed crab
A large handful of clams
2 large handfuls of mussels
Small bunch each of dill, chervil, chives & tarragon, woody stems removed & roughly chopped
Zest of half a lemon and a squeeze of juice
1 shallot - peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, seeds in or out, finely chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Clean the mussels and clams discarding any broken or open individuals. Get a pan of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Cook the linguine to the packet instructions (al dente please).
Melt half the butter and gently fry the garlic, shallot and chilli. Separate the brown from the white crab meat. Pass the brown through a sieve and add to the garlic butter. Pick through the white meat for any remaining shards of shell and set aside.
Turn up the heat and add the champagne to the garlic crab mix. Toss in the clams, lemon juice and a bit of seasoning, cover with a lid and steam for two mins in the champagne fumes. Next add the mussels then steam the lot until all the shellfish has opened - clams take a little longer to cook than mussels. Stir in the remainder of the butter to emulsify the sauce then add the herbs and the white crab meat to warm through.
Drain your pasta reserving a little cooking liquid. Add to the shellfish pot and mix well. The pasta doesn't want to be swimming in sauce but if it looks a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water. Check the seasoning and add a squeeze of lemon if you think it needs it. Serve in a massive bowl from which you can both eat - romantic......but messy!