AT A GLANCE
"For me, the greatest flavour from crustaceans comes from the shell and the head meat," says Moyle. "I love the richness that you get from this sauce, but I also hate it due to my developed allergy of crustacea. It doesn't stop me cooking with it and tasting it, however. I've just had to learn to live with a swollen mouth occasionally. This method of preparation for the calamari is very adaptable - it can be used in salads or broths alike."
|01||For crab sauce, smash crabs into pieces, and remove and discard gills, aka dead man’s fingers. Combine crab and oil in a large saucepan with reserved calamari wings and legs, and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat until shells turn orange and are lightly toasted (4-5 minutes). Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until all moisture evaporates and tomatoes start to turn deep red – this is the most important part of the process; the tomatoes must begin to caramelise, but not burn on the bottom (15-20 minutes). Add fennel and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (3-5 minutes), then add stock and a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and cook for flavours to develop (8 minutes). Pass through a chinois (see note), pressing on solids to extract all the liquid; there will be a layer of oil floating on top, which is okay. Transfer to a clean saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat, whisking continuously until stock becomes cloudy and emulsifies (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, whisk until cooled to 50C (6-8 minutes), then season to taste with lemon juice and sea salt.|
|02||Slice calamari as finely as possible into noodles. Blanch very briefly in batches in a saucepan of boiling water, agitating with a large spoon so calamari cooks evenly and doesn’t clump together, until it’s just turning opaque on the edges (10-20 seconds; this is like washing the calamari in boiling water, which Moyle finds easiest to do by lowering it into the water in a chinois). Drain on a tray lined with paper towels and cool slightly, then combine in a bowl with fennel fronds. Dress very lightly with olive oil and lemon juice and season lightly to taste.|
|03||Divide crab sauce among serving bowls, top with calamari and fennel salad, sprinkle with fennel pollen and serve.|
Note Fennel pollen is available from Herbie's Spices. A chinois is a conical-shaped, fine mesh strainer ideal for straining sauces and stocks.
AN ORANGE-STYLE WINE OR A WINE THAT HAS HAD EXTENDED SKIN CONTACT, SUCH AS 2012 CANTINA GIARDINO “PASKI” CODA DI VOLPE.