Friday, February 17, 2012

Acquisition of fresh crab meat allows
for creation of delicious pasta dish

In the small city where I live, I have been able to find many ingredients I need for the recipes I want to make. However, there are a few items that play hard to get.
   One of them is fresh crab (or lobster) meat.
   Our local supermarkets are devoid of it, even the one with the half-decent fish and seafood section.
   Sure, I could buy frozen crab legs and retrieve the meat myself, but who wants to do that? It’s only fun when you’re just eating the crab legs themselves. The other option is canned crab meat, which doesn’t work well in most recipes -- it dries out very quickly.
   On a recent trip to my parents’ house at a larger city an hour away, we made a special stop at a seafood market to buy fresh crab meat in containers, and I was elated.
   Now I could try some recipes that use the stuff, such as Linguine with Crab, Lemon, Chile and Mint (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine.
   This delicious pasta dish made it worth holding out for fresh crab meat. It was fresh and bright, making nice use of all of its title ingredients.
   Although it was easy enough for a weeknight, this pasta would also work for a casual dinner party.
   The recipe calls for one to two Fresno chiles, red jalapenos or red Thai chiles. We used a green jalapeno pepper, since we weren’t able to find any of the others. And we used only one pepper in the dish – we both aren’t fans of overly-spicy dishes.
   The first step in cooking the dish is boiling linguine (we used Catelli Smart), and reserving one cup of the cooking water before the pasta is drained. (We scoop out some water from the pot with a soup ladle and put it into a glass measuring cup, then drain the pasta).
   Butter and olive oil are heated in a large skillet, and shallots, garlic, and the chile are added and cooked until fragrant. Lemon juice and some of the pasta cooking water are stirred in.
   The pasta is transferred to a skillet and more pasta cooking liquid is added. The linguine is tossed in the pan for a couple of minutes, then butter, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest (finely-grated lemon peel) and crab meat are added. The pasta is stirred until the butter melts and coats the noodles well.
   The linguine is served sprinkled with lemon zest and mint.

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