Crab Fideos with Broken Garlic Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 cup olive oil, pure
  • 3 live rock crabs, quartered with cleaver. Save all liquid. Discard head sac.
  • 2 heads garlic, crushed with most skins removed
  • 1/2 bottle white wine
  • 6 ripe roma tomatoes or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup celery leaves
  • parsley stalks, fennel fronds
  • rind of 1 orange
  • pinch of saffron
  • sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons canned crushed tomato
  • salt, pepper, cayenne
  • lemon juice
  • 1 pound Goya fideos (vermicelli-type noodles)
  • 1 pound fresh crab meat

Method

  1. In a large stock pot pour in 1/2 cup olive oil. Heat to smoking and drop in 1/2 of the crab bodies. Do not shake pan. When browned, remove and brown the second half. Add 1/4 cup more oil to pan and sauté the crushed garlic heads until lightly golden. Return crab bodies to pan, deglaze with white wine. Add enough water (1 quart) to cover crabs and add remaining ingredients except for salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  2. Simmer slowly for 1 hour skimming any froth off surface. Add 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes. Shake the crabs to get the tomalley (liver) into the stock. Strain through a China cap pressing down on vegetables. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and lemon juice.
  3. Break 1 pound Goya fideos into approximately 1- to 2-inch pieces. Toss in 1/4 cup olive oil and bake in 350° oven until lightly golden. This should take 5 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to let the noodles get too brown.
  4. Boil fideos in crab stock until al dente. Drain in colander. Set over bowl. Reduce 4 cups of liquid to 1 cup. Reserve.
  5. Rub a shallow casserole dish with a cut clove of garlic and butter lightly. Arrange the cooked noodles tossed with the picked-over crab meat to a depth of 1 inch. You may need two casseroles. It is important that the noodles only be 1 inch high.
  6. Drizzle the noodles with the reserved cup of stock and bake in a 400° oven until the top is crispy and the stock absorbed.
  7. The beauty of this dish is the contrast of the crisp noodles on top, and the soft and somewhat dry underneath.
  8. Pass the broken garlic oil separately, as your guests will want different amounts.

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