Crab Meat Tagliatelle with Breadcrumbs & Fried Capers

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crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers

Crab Meat Tagliatelle with Breadcrumbs & Fried Capers

It's Wednesday Pasta Night at the Flom casa and it is our family tradition to make seafood pasta tonight! For years I've been making the same Seafood Pasta with shrimp, scallops and calamari (recipe on the blog). As my palette, and even my technique in the kitchen, has evolved, I've been experimenting a lot with different ingredients. I want my pasta to be flavorful with accents of acidity, spice, salt and crunch. Lump crab meat is a delicate, sweet ingredient that I usually buy at Citarella in New York City. There are two grades of freshly packed crab meat you can find. These include jumbo lump crab meat, which is the more expensive option that consists of larger pieces of meat from the main part of the crab's body, and lump crab meat, which is the meat that is picked through claws and fins. This option is reasonably priced yet still very delicious. Because it is so delicate, you want to add the meat at the very end and mix it gently with tagliatelle, a delicious egg pasta. To add a smoky flavor to my pasta, I render some fat from finely diced speck, which can be substituted with either bacon, pancetta or even salami. I then remove the meat with a slotted spoon to reserve for later, and cook all of my veggies in this fat with a dash of oil, some onion, celery and anise flavored fennel. My favorite harissa sauce adds a kick of spiciness, and it colors the vegetables with a beautiful golden hue. Then I add quartered cherry tomatoes and butter to make the sauce. Coat your pasta in this sauce and add crab meat with some finely chopped dill. Fried capers, toasted breadcrumbs, and the browned speck add saltiness, acidity and the perfect crunch that I've been craving lately in this particular dish. Sprinkle each pasta bowl with an equal amount of these crunchy toppings, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season with salt and mildly spicy red pepper. Enjoy!

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-ingredients

Ingredients: tagliatelle, lump crab meat, onion, celery, fennel, tomatoes, lemon, garlic, dill, speck, panko breadcrumbs, harissa sauce, capers, mini-mozzarella balls, mildly spicy red pepper, salt, EVOO.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-ingredients

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-dice-onion

Prepare all the ingredients in advance, so that when it is time to make your pasta, you have everything at hand reach. Cut medium size onion in half and dice one half finely.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-dice-celery

I like to use celery's center stalks in my recipes, I find them mild in taste and very sweet. Dice the stalks finely, even the light green leaves.

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Cut fennel bulb in half, thinly slice one half.

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Depending on the size of your cherry/or wine tomatoes, cut them into quarters or in half. Cut out the white divot, it's not edible.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-prepared-ingredients

Finely diced onion and celery, sliced fennel and quartered tomatoes. Plus harissa sauce, finely chopped speck and garlic.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-chop-dill

Chop dill or parley finely. I like dill in this recipe, it is such a delicate, delicious and underused herb in America and it goes so well together with sweet lump crab meat.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-cut-mozzarella-balls

Cut mini-mozzarella balls in half. If you can't find mini balls, buy a big one, drain it and tear half of it apart into bite-size pieces.

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Zest a lemon.

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Pour a dash of olive oil and toast bread crumbs in a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat until golden. Transfer to a plate.

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Fry capers in the same pan. Pour a dash of oil and add capers to the pan, cook until crispy, about 5 minutes.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-cook-speck

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, add speck and a dash of oil.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-cooking-speck

Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until speck is nicely browned on all sides and crispy.

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Transfer speck with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel to drain extra fat.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-sauteing-onion-celery

Saute onion and celery in speck's rendered fat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are softened and becoming translucent.  Add a dash of oil if pan gets too dry.

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Add spicy harissa sauce.

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Mix sauce with vegetables. Add garlic clove and cook for one minute.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-add-fennelcrab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-add-butter

Then add fennel and tablespoon of butter, season everything with salt and pepper. Cook fennel for 5-8 minutes until softened, stirring often.

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Add tomatoes and another tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper again. Cook on medium low heat for about 12 minutes or until tomatoes are softened but not too mushy. Lower the heat if the sauce cooks too fast. You need all that delicious buttery liquid to coat pasta at the end.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-add-dill-to-sauce

Add dill and mix with tomato sauce.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-add-pasta

Then add pasta and coat it in sauce. Add 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid to loosen the sauce and coat pasta in sauce again. Turn off the heat.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers-add-crab-meat

Add crabmeat, speck, lemon zest, season pasta with salt and pepper and gently mix with pasta.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers

Divide pasta between serving bowls, garnish with toasted breadcrumbs and fried capers, sprinkle with extra pepper on top.

crab-meat-tagliatelle-with-breadcrumbs-fried-capers

 

 

 

Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Crab Meat Tagliatelle with Breadcrumbs & Fried Capers

recipe details

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. tagliatelle
For the pasta
  • 8 oz. lump crabmeat
  • 2 oz. speck, finely diced
  • ½ yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • ½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lb. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon harissa sauce or sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream (optional)
  • 8 mini-mozzarella balls, cut in half
To garnish
  • 3 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon capers, fried
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and mildly spicy red pepper (Aleppo Style Chili Flakes, Marash Pepper or Gochugaru Korean Chile Flakes)

Directions

  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat; add speck and a dash of oil, cook speck for 5 minutes, stirring often, until speck is crispy and nicely browned on all sides. Transfer speck with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel to drain extra fat.
  2. Sauté onion and celery in speck's rendered fat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are softened and becoming translucent.  Pour a dash of oil if pan gets too dry. Add spicy harissa sauce and mix it with vegetables in the pan. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Then add fennel and tablespoon of butter, season everything with salt and pepper. Cook fennel for 5-8 minutes until softened, stirring often. Add tomatoes and another tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper again. Cook on medium low heat for about 12 minutes or until tomatoes are softened but not too mushy. Lower the heat if sauce cooks too fast. You will need all that delicious buttery liquid to coat pasta at the end. In addition too but optional, add a tablespoon or two of sour cream to thicken the sauce. Add dill and mozzarella balls, mix with tomato sauce.
  3. Then add pasta and coat it in sauce. Add 1/4-cup pasta cooking liquid to loosen the sauce and coat pasta in sauce again. Turn off the heat. Add crabmeat, speck, lemon zest, season pasta with salt and pepper and gently mix these ingredients with pasta. Divide pasta between bowls, garnish with toasted breadcrumbs and fried capers, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with extra pepper on top.  Serve hot!
             

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2 thoughts on “Crab Meat Tagliatelle with Breadcrumbs & Fried Capers”

  1. Svitlana, I’ve been a big fan of yours for a while now. Absolutely love your recipes (and have cooked easily 70% of them)….but have to confess I’ve never thanked you nor left a comment. Sooooo thank you kindly! keep up the great job with recipes and beautiful pictures!!! Oh and a HUGE congrats on the 2nd baby :) wishing You and the precious one lots of health!!!!

    1. Wow, Yanochka, thank you so so much for your kind comment & greetings! Now there is sous chef #2 in the kitchen- baby Nika! I literally live for comments like yours, if you noticed I rarely get any:(. I know my friends love the recipes but everyone is just so busy to leave one on the blog, they mostly comment on Instagram these days. I deeply appreciate you following the blog & cooking most of my recipes. Please don’t hesitate to shot me an email if you have any questions or leave an honest comment if something didn’t come out as nice as expected, I always say that everyone’s oven is different & even salt is different. Feel free to skip an ingredient or add your own touch, most of the recipes are versatile.There are some cool recipes coming- seafood & meat based & something sweet as well! Look forward to connecting with you here again! :))

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