The Elba recipe for spaghetti with Spider-crab (Granseola)

The spider-crab, or “Granseola” as it is called in Italian, is called “margherita” (daisy) on the Island of Elba and in the province of Livorno in general. Although it has less flesh than a lobster, it has a much stronger flavour so it is perfect for making sauces for spaghetti and “gnocchi”. The spider-crab season is from April to early summer.

Ingredients

One medium sized spider-crab, onion, garlic, parsely and chilli pepper, peeled tomatoes, white wine, spaghetti.

Method

Scrub the spider-crab with a soft brush. Open up the shell and break the crab into medium sized pieces, taking care not to lose the liquid that comes out, because you will need it later for the sauce.

Fry the onion, garlic and chilli pepper gently in extra virgin olive oil until slightly golden, add the spider-crab and cook gently until it has turned a reddish colour.

In spring the female is usually full of eggs in the underside of her belly, so don’t discard them because they are very tasty and enhance the flavour.

Add the white wine and the liquid from the crab (previously strained to get rid of any sand or impurities).

Add the tomatoes and cook gently until the oil comes to the surface. Taste for salt, add chopped parsely and extra chilli pepper if you prefer.

When the crab is cooked, remove the pieces and put into a serving dish, cover with some of the sauce to keep them warm. Put cooked spaghetti into sauce, mix gently and serve adding the pieces of crab.

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