Happy Mother’s Day! I know a lot of folks head out to eat on Mother’s Day, mostly to give mom a day off from some kitchen work, but we tend to stay IN on holidays such as this one since the malls, restaurants, etc. are jampacked and you are more likely to get a mediocre, overpriced and somewhat stressful meal instead of a calm and enjoyable one. Of course there are exceptions, but today is a great day to enjoy food at home, as long as “mom” doesn’t have to prepare it. So here was Mother’s Day lunch at our place…
One of my favorite food magazines has to be Gourmet, along with Saveur, Vogue Entertaining (Austalian edition), Delicious, etc. And in every issue of Gourmet, I find that there is something I would definitely like to cook and eat. It seems Gourmet has become much more “accessible”, with sophisticated recipes that CAN in fact be done by home cooks. Recipes also often appear to be far more global and sometimes, together with their wonderful photographs, really call out to me and I am inspired to try it within days of getting my subscription copy of the magazine.
in the May 2008 issue of Gourmet, there is a recipe for “Spicy Crab Spaghettini with Preserved Lemon” that sounded and looked really intriguing. The only problem was I didn’t have any preserved lemons and while I have always wanted to have some in stock for the tagine experiments we conduct at the beach, I never got around to buying or making preserved lemons. Thank goodness the magazine also provides a really easy recipe for preserved lemons so I made those first (recipe up soon in a separate post), then aged them for some 9-10 days before I made the pasta recipe for Mother’s Day.
The recipe was appropriately sophisticated and unusual, and despite taking less than 20 minutes to make (excluding time to steam and pick fresh crabs), it had a surprisingly complex and delicious impression on one’s taste buds. The only substitution I made to the original recipe was alimango meat for the specified frozen king crab legs. The recipe credit goes completely to Gourmet. To make, I purchased 1.5 kilos of alimango and steamed them for 12-14 minutes until cooked. After cooking for say 20 minutes, we picked out all of the crab meat, and take care not to include the sharp shells in the crab meat. The 1.5 kilos of crab was equal to roughly 600 grams of peeled crabmeat. When your pasta water has reached a boil, add a generous amount of salt and add about 3/4 pound of spaghettini or spaghetti. Heat up a stainless or cast iron pan, add 1/4 cup of good olive oil, and about 1/2 cup of finely chopped red onions and saute for about 2-3 minutes until soft. Add two teaspoons (I used 3) of sambal oelek (bottled Malay, Indonesian, Thai chili paste) and stir for a few seconds before adding the peeled crab meat and stir gently to heat through.
When the pasta is al dente or firm to the bite, drain it and add it to the crab mixture. Quickly add two tablespoons of salted butter, a little salt if necessary, and about 3 tablespoons of chopped flatleaf parsley. Also stir in finely chopped preserved lemon, about a tablespoon worth. The preserved lemon needs to be rinsed before chopping. Also, scrape off the pulp and only use the skin. Serve hot. This was superb! Thank you Gourmet, for another easy and delicious recipe!