Crab with Spaghetti and Agretti

Agretti, also know as monk's beard, is a marsh grass and gives a salty taste of the sea to Theo Randall's pasta dish
By Theo Randall
Crab with Spaghetti and Agretti
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3-4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 1 x 2 kg cooked crab
  • 200 g agretti or samphire
  • 500 g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 lemon


1. Remove the brown and white meat from the body and legs of the crab, keeping both meats separate. Prepare the agretti by picking over with your hands, removing the pale pink stem at the end, any woody bits and roots and any less than perfect fronds. Rinse in a sieve to remove any grit and set aside.

2. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling, salted water according to directions on the packet, adding the agretti for the last 2 minutes of the cooking time. When done, drain the pasta and agretti.

3. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large frying pan (big enough to take the cooked spaghetti later) and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the chopped chilli, garlic and fennel seeds and fry for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the brown crab meat first and heat it through, then add the white meat and warm through briefly. Add a squeeze of lemon and season with freshly ground salt and black pepper and a dash of olive oil.

4. Toss the spaghetti and agretti through the crab whilst still on the heat. Season again with salt, pepper, a little lemon juice and some more olive oil and serve immediately.

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