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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

CENTOLLA WITH 15TH C RECIPE FOR CRAB IN GOLDEN SAUCE


Fresh Spider Crab at the Mercado de Maravillas, Madrid, Spain
Photo by: MRSamper  
Cat cabra, OCat cabre, L. Maja squinado, Eng spider crab, southern king crab. It is found on the coasts of west and southwestern England. It is well known in Spain on the Atlantic coast. It can grow to 20 cm. and weighs from two to four and a half pounds. It has long spider-like claws with no large front claws lik the Dungeness Crabs The spider crab also has sharp spikes on each side of its body. It is common to find it covered with algae. It is popular in France and Spain for its sweet delicate flavor. During Avenzoar’s time (1090-1162) it was said that to relieve the pain of someone whose eye hurts, one should remove the right eye of a spider crab and place it on the eye. Andalusians also used crab as an antidote against poison. [Anón/Grewe. 1982:CLXXXXIII:197:Apè III:241; Benavides. Nueva 1995:196; ES: “Common Spider.” Nov 3, 05; and Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:124]

TO MAKE A DISH OF CRABS, ADAPTED FROM CAPITULO C AFFARE MAGNARE DE GRANGIE LIBRO B, OF ANONIMO MERIDIONALE: DUE LIBRI DI CUCINA, EDITED BY INGEMAR BOSTRÖM AND TRANSLATED BY REBECCA FRIEDMAN[1]
The Sauce Turned Golden Yellow with the Saffron Addition
Photo by: Lord-Williams
For 4 persons

Ingredients

2 spider crabs[2]
1 c almonds
¼ c virgin olive oil
2 raw eggs
1 slice bread
¼ c vinegar
3 c fish broth
¼ tsp saffron
1/2  tsp cumin
2 tsp mixed spices[3]

Preparation

Fill a pot with seawater if available otherwise use fish broth. Bring to a boil and add the crabs. Cover and bring to a boil again. Cook the crabs 10-15 minutes until they float. Continue boiling 2-3 more minutes. Then remove the crabs and let cool. Extract the meat and set aside.
Spider Crab Swimming in Golden Sauce
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Scald almonds and remove skins. Fry them in olive oil. When golden brown, grind them with eggs and bread soaked in vinegar. Add fish broth and strain into a pot. Add saffron and cumin. Bring to a boil and add the crab. Turn off heat and let stand  2-3 minutes to warm the crab. Add mixed spices and serve.


[1] Note that the text is from Southern Italy which was part of Aragon during the 15th C.Found at David Friedman’s website:
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Due_Libre_B/Due_Libre_B.pdf

[2] It is estimated that the amount of crabmeat is 25% the crab’s weight and that each crab weighs about 2 lbs although they can weigh as much as 4 ½.

[3] See blog titled cardomomo published on August 10, 2012 for an example.

1 comment:

  1. One of the beauties of Chilean cooking is that they have no lost the art of preparing hot delicacies with shellfish. Another is that Chilean fishmongers sell the crabs ready to prepare any dish, saving you the task of boiling and over all, crunching and peeling.
    Even if I am nearer to Mercado de Maravillas than to Mercado Central in Santiago, I save this recipe for my Chistmas menu.It reminds me somehow of the "chupe de jaiba" but with a more exotic touch due to the species.

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