The summer is starting to draw to a close here but I still like something light and quick for those days when the sun is shining, although this dish can work equally well in the winter when you want a fresh citrus kick to boost your feeling of wellbeing. This recipe was inspired by me treating myself to a few different peppers from the spicery (long pepper and Phu Quoc red pepper in this case) and wanting to make them the star of the dish. I think that pepper is a rather overlooked ingredient, often just sprinkled on unthinkingly for a little extra seasoning. There are so many different kinds of pepper with such wonderfully complex flavours that when it takes centre stage, such as in pepper curries or peppercorn sauce, it never ceases to impress me. Feel free to experiment with different kinds of peppers in this recipe to find your favourite combination. I initially made this with crab and I love how it coats the courgetti strands and complements the citrus, but it also works very well with borlotti beans if you want to make a vegan version.
Crab, lime and pepper courgetti
Time: 10 minutes preparation time, 10 minutes cooking time
Dietary info: pescatarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan version available (see “some tasty little twists”)
- 1 dressed crab, or 1 can white crab meat and 1 can brown crab meat
- 2 courgettes, spiralized, shredded or peeled into long ribbons – if the strands are too long, snip them into manageable lengths with a pair of kitchen scissors
- 100g sugar snap peas, cut in half across the width (rather than lengthways)
- 200g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Garlic powder to sprinkle
Lime and pepper dressing
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp freshly ground pepper of your choice, plus extra to serve if you want
- 2 limes
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- Put the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray and sprinkle them with some garlic powder. Roast them in the oven at 160C fan for 15 minutes, until well cooked and starting to slightly char at the edges.
- To make the sauce, combine the garlic powder, ground ginger and pepper in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and mix to a smooth paste (adding the liquid gradually to the powder like this helps prevent lumps).
- Add the remaining sauce ingredients to the paste and stir to combine.
- Put the sugar snap peas in a non-stick frying pan with the courgetti and 2 tbsp of the sauce. Cover and cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
- Add the crab and mix thoroughly to combine – this can be easier to do with tongs rather than a spoon if the courgetti strands are long.
- Stir in the roast cherry tomatoes, drizzle with 2 more tbsp of the sauce and serve with the remaining sauce on the side and extra pepper to sprinkle over it.
A few tips to prep ahead…
- The sauce can be made ahead and kept in a sealable box in the fridge for at least a week. it makes a nice dipping sauce for many asian dishes, or a nice salad dressing so you may want to make double or triple quantities and use it with other meals throughout the week.
- Prepare the sugar snaps and keep them in a sealable bag in the fridge
- Chop and roast the cherry tomatoes and keep them in a sealable bag or box in the fridge.
- You can spiralize the courgette and keep it in a bag in the fridge, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this more than a day before you eat it to prevent it either drying out or going bad.
- Then all you need to do on the night is cook it in the frying pan and you can have dinner ready in under 10 minutes.
- If you are doing the vegan version (below) you can also prepare the bean mixture and keep it in a sealable box in the fridge.
Some tasty little twists…
- To make this dish vegan, replace the crab with 1 can borlotti beans (400g, 235g drained):
- Drain and rinse the bean and put them in a bowl with a splash of water, 2 tbsp of the lime sauce and 1 tbsp soy sauce.
- Mash with a fork until you have a mixture that is smooth enough to coat the strands of courgetti but still has some chunks of beans for texture.
- Add the bean mixture to the courgetti instead of the crab in the recipe above.
- To make this dish more substantial, replace the courgetti with your favourite noodles, or use a mixture of noodles and courgetti.
- Replace the courgetti with different spiralized vegetables – a few of my favourite are butternut squash, beetroot, carrot or parsnip. If you can get yellow courgettes, a mixture of green and yellow courgetti would look very pretty if you are cooking this dish for friends.