Swiiming crabs and swimming memories - what I learned from my father, gastronomically speaking
It's still Summer, there's no running away from it. It may be September, most of us may have just returned from an August of relaxation, beach days, warm nights, but the days are still be rather hot and we may all still crave a chilled beer or some nice cool white wine on a friday night, despite being September. Fresh fish, just steamed or grilled is still what we crave the most, or maybe some nice seafood. A light dish, fragrant with the scent of open sea, easy on the spices, just really letting the basic ingredients sing. I craved this dish the moment my feet landed on the bay. I ended up having to cook it for the three of us to have on a very warm Summer evening.
My father was rather a foodie. And a conoisseur, as well. He was great with cooking traditional portuguese food, and he knew his seafood so well. He was a lover of seafood, shellfish above anything else. Crabs. All sorts of them. When I was a child, we always had some sort of pilgrimage to certain restaurants where seafood was the specialty, or else we'd go to some sort of savage, secluded beach where we could fish for our own seafood. There are things I haven't eaten since my father passed away. Swimming crab is one of them, and I had rather missed it for a while. I didn't even know I missed eating this.
I'm lucky enough to have a husband that shares the same love of seafood as I do, and once I began talking about how I missed eating a good swimming crab soup, he was sold on it. Money is always scarce, but we always manage to find a way of having certain expensive ingredients on our pantry, even if in small amounts. Now, seafood is rather expensive in Portugal, so we never buy a lot of it. Three swiming crabs seemed about right for the three of us, and that was what we brought from the fish market one fine morning. The rest of the ingredients being rather affordable, all we needed was somo good white wine, and we were set to go. Cooking this was one hell of a blast to the past, as I could envision my father busy with pots and pans in the kitchen and keeping an eye on those crabs so they would not break free.
If you're in the mood to try this soup, you'll need:
- one swimming crab per person
- one or two chorizos - depending on the number of people you're serving
- a cup of small sized pasta - I used pipe doppia rigature
- one medium to big onion, peeled and finely chopped
- one clove garlic, finely chopped
- three to four medium sized ripe tomatoes, diced
- one carrot finely diced
- one dry or fresh red chilli
- one glass of dry white wine
- a bunch of fresh cilantro, lower half chopped finely, leaves just torn and mind to keep some for garnishing once it's cooked through!
- olive oil