1 onion 1 sprig fresh thyme
1 clove 1 kg/2 1/4 lb live crabs
2 tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and chopped 100 ml/3 1/2 fl oz dry white wine
1 egg yolk 1/2 tablespoon cornflour
pinch of saffron threads salt and pepper
thick bread slices, toasted, to serve


1.Cook the onion in boiling water for about 20 minutes until soft, then drain. Bring 1.2 litres/2 pints lightly salted water to the boil, add the thyme and clove and plunge in the crabs.
2.Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Stand each crab on one edge, then prise the shell apart with your thumbs.
3.Break off the legs and claws, crack them open and pick out the meat.
4.Pull off and discard the gills from the sides of the body, split open the body and prise out the meat.
5.Chop the crab meat and the boiled onion and combine them with the tomatoes. Add the mixture to the reserved cooking liquid, pour in the wine and cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes.
6.Beat the egg yolk with the cornflour in a bowl, then stir into the soup. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the saffron just before ladling into a soup tureen. Serve the soup very hot with toast.

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