I hate throwing things away and the thought of a potential meal going in the bin is more than a little depressing. Turning your crab shells into a broth is a great way tof prevent such a sorry event, and makes for an excellent dish.
1tbsp vegetable or corn oil
Shells from one or two crabs, broken into pieces
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, halved
1 bay leaf
A couple of sprigs of thyme
1tsp fennel seeds
1tsp black peppercorns
1tbsp tomato purée
2½ litres fish stock (or a few stock cubes)
150ml white wine
150-200g asparagus, woody ends removed
100-120g cooked white crab meat
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and cook the crab shells on a high heat for 3-4 minutes, colouring them lightly.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except the crab and asparagus, bring to the boil and simmer gently for an hour, skimming occasionally. Strain the contents through a fine-meshed sieve into another clean saucepan.
Check the taste, and if it seems under-powered, simmer to reduce – gradually the flavour will intensify. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2-4 minutes, depending on size, then drain and leave to cool.
To serve, slice the stems of the asparagus on the angle and leave the tips whole. Divide the asparagus and crabmeat between your soup bowls and ladle the hot broth on top.