We have beautiful Italian friends who invited us for lunch and hubby opened a bottle of 1988 Grange Hermitage on the Thursday, so it could breathe overnight in anticipation of the Friday lunch.
Hubby has been busy catching crabs and our friends had young ones visiting from northern Italy who had not eaten crabs.
I cooked the crabs, with a mild chilli sauce for these guests, who ate every morsel enthusiastically, taking 2 hours to eat them.
Our hosts had de cantered the beautifully aged 1988 Grange Hermitage and fired up the barbie (barbecue). They had beautifully marbled scotch fillet from the lush fields of Tamworth and fresh oysters from our local Wallis lake, which were shucked before our eyes and served simply washed in lake water with a squeeze of lime.
I do not take photographs of these events as I live in a small coastal town of 25,000 and everyone really does know everyone, so it is best to keep your movements quiet.
Suffice to say we had an amazing day sipping on the wine with oysters, crusty bread, cheese, fig paste and olives.
The guests kept thanking me for this amazing crab dish, which I had to improvise as our hosts did not have all of the ingredients I usually use with crabs. (They were even out of garlic.)
It goes to show we can cook anything when we really want to.
Improvised Chilli Crab
4 fresh crabs
4 fresh crabs
1 tablespoon grated or bottled ginger
1 long red chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons tamarind puree
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup bottled tomato puree, or tomato chunks
Remove the top shell from the crab, cut each crab in half and remove gills. Rinse in cold water.
Place the crabs in a wok, pour in 1 cup of hot water, turn heat to low and put on lid.
Simmer for 5 minutes, do not take off lid.
Then remove wok with oven gloves and pour the water down the sink then return wok to heat.
Turn heat to medium, place ginger and chilli around perimeter, fry for 1 minute.
Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, water, shaoxing wine, sugar, tamarind puree and tomato, turn crabs over to coat in sauce. Turn heat to low, put on lid and cook 4 minutes, turning crabs once more.
Take off lid now, turn crabs again. Total cooking time is 10 minutes.
Pour onto platter and serve.
(Do not heat your platter or the crabs may keep cooking in the sauce.)
Buon appetito, enjoy Merryn