I have to confess, this recipe has been in my drafts since Easter. Mostly because I totally know most of you won’t have access to red claw and so right now you will be thinking mean things at me!
But you could do red claw. My son has them growing in an aquaculture tank in the back yard of an inner city share house in Brisbane. Ours were introduced into our front dam just under a year ago as juveniles about 3 inches long.
We submerged some milk crates full of pieces of hollow bamboo for them to shelter in – each one like to have its own little hidey hole – but otherwise they’ve had no feeding or care at all. Over Easter, just for fun, we set some traps to see how they were faring and easily caught half a dozen. We threw the females back – theoretically they should breed in our climate – but kept three of the large males about 20 cm long in the body, with big fat front claws. I was planning to make them go around four of us, and then at the last minute two more arrived for lunch. And like loaves and fishes, three red claw went generously round six people as red claw pappardelle with a green salad and some garlic sourdough on the side.
This recipe makes 4 generous serves. With a salad, it will go round 6 without feeling miserly. The same idea would no doubt work for yabbies too.
It is tragic to do too much to red claw. The meat is sweet and pink and very delicious. We put the three large male red claw in the freezer for ten minutes, then straight into a pot of boiling water and cooked for just a few minutes. Then we cooled them enough to handle and shell them. While they are in the freezer is a good time to start making the pasta, and while they are cooling is a good time to roll it out.
The tail is the only part with real meat, but it is worth picking the meat out of the front claws too. The heads and shells went into a pot of water to make stock for another day.
Finely dice a large onion and saute gently in a generous amount of really good olive oil till translucent. Add three or four cloves of finely diced garlic, then, all at once:
- a handful of lemon basil finely chopped (lemon thyme would no doubt work too)
- juice of a lemon
- a teaspoon of finely grated lemon rind
- a couple of teaspoons of chopped capers
- the red claw meat, coarsely chopped
- good olive oil enough to coat everything
Just heat through, then toss the sauce through the pasta, top with some chopped flat leaf parsley, and serve.
I have just one pasta recipe, and I’ve posted it several times before, but I’ll repeat it here so you don’t have to click around.
In the food processor, blend:
- two large eggs (or if your eggs are small, add a bit of water too)
- 1 cup flour – I use the high gluten unbleached baker’s flour I use for my bread, but you can use any plain flour.
- a swig of olive oil
- good pinch salt
Blend until it comes together into a soft dough. It needs to be not sticky but soft.
Flour the workbench and knead very briefly, kneading in enough more flour to make a smooth, soft, non-sticky dough. It will look like quite a small dough ball, but a little bit goes a long way. Let it rest for a few minutes covered with a wet bowl or cup, then roll it out and cut into noodles.
For this recipe I cut it into 30 mm thick pappardelle noodles, but you can go for any shape you like. You will find that if you flour the benchtop and keep flipping it, you can roll the dough out very fine without it sticking. The finer the better. If you go to the effort of rolling it out, then folding it into a block and rolling it out again, you get a denser, more al dente pasta. Usually i don’t bother but to do justice to red claw it’s worth it.
Sprinkle flour over the top of the rolled out dough, then roll it into a log. Using a sharp knife, cut into noodles. You will find that if you have floured between the layers well enough, the noodles will separate nicely.
If you put a big pot of water on to boil at the same time you start the sauce, the two should be ready at more or less the same time.