Spider crab and sweetcorn chowder

Serves 4-6

Spider crab is an undervalued shellfish and you rarely see it on restaurant menus – there's not an awful lot of meat compared to a brown crab, but stretched out into a soup and with the shells used for a bisque it suddenly makes good sense.

Most good fishmongers should be able to get hold of spider crab for you and you should cook and prepare it in the normal way – or get your fishmonger to do it for you.

If you are struggling to get spider crab, you can use a normal brown crab.

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 rashers of rindless, smoked, streaky bacon, chopped into rough 1cm squares
60g butter
1tbsp flour
1.2ltr hot fish stock
1 x 250g can of sweetcorn
The brown and white meat from a 500-700g spider crab
1 large potato, peeled and cut into rough 1cm cubes
2tbsp chopped parsley
60ml double cream

Gently cook the onion, garlic and bacon in the butter for 4-5 minutes until soft. Stir in the flour and cook on a low heat for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the hot fish stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the sweetcorn and brown crab meat and remove a fifth of the soup from the pan; blend until smooth and returnto the pan.

Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the cream and parsley and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and re-season if necessary. Serve immediately.

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