Why does fish go so well with tarragon? Fennel, tarragon, Pernod, anything with the aniseed flavour pairs wonderfully well with seafood. It is fragrant enough that you don’t really need to add much else except for a cold glass of crisp white wine. Herbs often dictate the flavour of a dish, although parsley, by far the most widely used herb and an excellent one to use, does not dominate particularly. It’s hard to spoil a recipe by adding too much of it. Most people like basil, which doesn’t have a particularly strong flavour, but leaf coriander (cilantro) is a different matter entirely. Some people think it’s the best herb on the planet, while others think it tastes like soap. It can ruin an entire dish if you’re not a fan. Tarragon has a pronounced aniseed taste that you have to like. Of all the aniseed-flavoured herbs and spices, such as fennel and star anise, I think tarragon is the best. In this recipe, the crab and the tarragon are equally important flavours and together they make the dish. You really don’t need much else.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 45 Minutes
- 700 g/1 lb 8 oz crab legs, cooked or raw
- 40 g/1½ oz/3 tbsp butter
- handful of tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped
- handful of flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 0.5 lemon
- salt and pepper
- If you use raw crab legs, cook them for 6–8 minutes in boiling, salted water and then drain and leave to cool.
- Split the crab legs lengthwise and open them to expose the meat. Heat 75 g/3 oz/6 tbsp of the butter in a frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to sizzle, add the crab legs and fry for 2–3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Add the tarragon and, after 1 minute, the parsley and the rest of the butter. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the juice from the half lemon into the pan. Fry for a further 1 minute.
- Serve the crab legs with the tarragon butter sauce spooned over.