Rick says: "I like using shells as natural containers for seafood. Mussel, scallops, clams and crabs all look much more appetizing to me presented in this way. The great charm of shangurro, which comes from the Basque coast of Northern Spain, is that in San Sebastian, Santander and Bilbao it is normally served using the back shell of a spider crab as a gratin dish for the combination of spider crab meat, tomato, garlic, chilli, olive oil, parsley and breadcrumbs. I must admit, however, that if you have time to pick out four spider crabs, you would hardly call this a quick and simple dish. It is so good, however, it is worth using brown crab meat and gratin dishes rather than shells."
2 large cooked brown crabs, or approximately 450 g (1 lb) white crab meat and 100 g (4 oz) brown crab meat
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
8 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
225 g (8 oz) plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
50 ml (2 fl oz) dry white wine
1 teaspoon caster sugar
¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
50 g (2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
15 g (1 /2 oz) butter, melted
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
If using cooked crabs, remove the meat from the shell (see p 20 – 21). Wash out the back shells and then break away the edge along the visible natural line to give a flat open shell. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan, then add the onions and all except 1 chopped garlic clove. Fry over a gentle heat for 2 minutes, until softened. Increase the heat, add the tomatoes, wine, sugar, chilli flakes and some salt and pepper and simmer for about 4 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to a thick sauce. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley and the flaked crab meat and spoon the mixture into the crab shells, if using, or individual gratin dishes. If using crab shells, rest them in a shallow ovenproof dish. Mix the breadcrumbs with the melted butter and the rest of the parsley and garlic, sprinkle this
mixture over the crab and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the topping is crisp and golden.