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Crab Linguine With Orange And Tarragon

By colm
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Sweet, succulent crab with a light and zesty citrus sauce. This pasta is ideal for lunch or as a late supper.

crab linguine

I don’t watch much tv, just football and the food network. I do enjoy documentaries though, and I’m a big fan of the deadliest catch. Do you know the show on the discovery channel? Sometimes when I’m cooking with king crab I think about those guys out on the Bering Sea in Alaska, risking life and limb just so we can enjoy this scary looking sea creature.

The crab I used in this recipe was caught in the much calmer waters off the Irish coast. It’s the native brown Irish crab. It’s sweet, succulent and massively expensive at a whopping 42 euro a kilo. I agree that is a ridiculous price! but trust me, it’s a real treat!

You might think serving it with pasta is a bit of a waste when it costs so much, and it’s probably the most expensive spaghetti dish you’ll ever cook, but this dish is all about the sauce. It puts a creamy coating on the linguini and when you dig in you find flecks of sweet crab and zesty orange with a hint of aniseed from the tarragon. Devine!!

crab linguine

Back in the day preparing crab was a real pain, one of those tedious jobs farmed out to the young commis chef’s. You’d have to kill it, cook it and extract all the meat. Which involved hammering at the hard claws and pieces of shell flying everywhere. Before painstakingly going through all the meat looking for traces of shell. All with the boss looking over your shoulder to make sure you didn’t waste any of the meat.

Now it arrives in the kitchen all nicely packaged and already cooked. it’s just a matter of checking it for any shell. One thing I’ve noticed over the past couple of years is that you rarely if ever find any, so the crab processing technique must have improved. Thank god for modern technology!

crab linguine

Tarragon is a herb I reckon everybody should use a lot more. It’s more versatile than basil or coriander. It’s good with chicken or beef but it really rocks shellfish.

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Crab Linguine With Orange And Tarragon

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 6 oranges
  • 3 finely diced banana shallots
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 300 ml (.6 pint) white wine
  • 200 ml (.4 pint) fish stock
  • 500 ml (1.1 pint) cream
  • 200g (7 oz) crab meat
  • 30g (1 oz) fresh tarragon
  • 600g (21 oz) fresh linguini pasta


  1. First prepare your oranges. Peel and segment two and keep aside to put in the sauce later. Half and squeeze the juice from the remaining 4.
  2. Slowly feel through each piece of crab meat with your hands to make sure theres no shell.
  3. Cook the shallot and garlic together in the olive oil, without colour, for about 5 minutes till soft.
  4. Add the white wine and boil until the sauce has reduced by half its volume.
  5. Next, add the orange juice and fish stock and boil to reduce the sauces volume by half again.
  6. You add the cream next. Then bring to the boil and cook it for about another 3/4 minutes till it begins to thicken
  7. Add the crabmeat and reserved orange segments to the sauce. Keep warm while you cook the pasta.
  8. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add a teaspoon of salt. Add the pasta to the water and cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Drain the pasta well and divide between 4 large pasta bowls.
  10. Season the sauce with salt and a couple of turns of black pepper before adding the tarragon and spooning over the pasta.


Alternative fish to use in this recipe – prawns, lobster


  • Serving Size: 4 portions

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