Think of this as a simpler version of bouillabaisse with all the flavour, but less work. Use a mixture of seafood if you like, but the real flavour comes from toasting the crab shells in the oil.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 blue swimmer crabs, cleaned, halved, claws cracked
- 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
- ½ white onion, thinly sliced
- Large pinch of saffron threads
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 100 ml Pernod
- 200 ml dry white wine
- 500 ml fish or crab stock (2 cups)
- 6 king prawns, unpeeled
- 1 red capsicum
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large kipfler potato (120gm), scrubbed
- 1 boiled egg, white discarded
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 1 tbsp boiling water
- 300 ml olive oil
- 1For rouille, preheat oven to 200C. Toss capsicum in olive oil and roast until tender (20-25 minutes). Transfer to a heatproof bowl,cover with plastic wrap and stand to steam and soften (20-25 minutes). Meanwhile, place potato in a saucepan, cover completely with cold water, bring to the boil over high heat and boil until tender (15-20 minutes). Drain and cool. Peel capsicum and potato, coarsely chop, and transfer to a blender along with yolk, garlic, vinegar and saffron and its water. Blend to combine, then, with motor running, gradually add olive oil in a thin steady stream until thick and emulsified. Season to taste and refrigerate until required.
- 2Meanwhile, heat oil in an extra-large wide saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add crabs and stir until they start to roast in the oil and turn red (2-4 minutes). Remove from the pan. Add fennel, onion and saffron threads and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened (8-10 minutes). Add tomato paste and stir until the colour deepens (1 minute). Deglaze pan with Pernod and simmer until almost evaporated (1-2 minutes), then add wine and reduce by half (2-3 minutes). Add fish stock, return crabs to pan, cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until crabs are cooked through, adding prawns during the last 8 minutes of cooking (10-15 minutes). Remove crabs from pan and strain vegetables and stock, reserving both. Return stock to pan and reduce over high heat until well flavoured (8-12 minutes). Season to taste, return crab and vegetables to pan, and serve with rouille and crusty bread.
Drink Suggestion: Pale, dry rosé. Drink suggestion by Max Allen