Boy was it hard to try to come up with a food pun for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. I couldn't think of anything until I made this dish of Linguine with "Crab," Lemon, Chile, and Mint for Valentine's Day dinner, and decided it could work for this edition of Oscar Noms. If you can think of better food puns for this title, please leave them in the comments section, because I was stumped!
I was intrigued by this recipe in the January issue of Bon Appetit, especially after I found a frozen package of Match crab meat in the freezer. I used the Match crab meat for these I'm Not Crabby Cakes and I really love the texture and flavor. It seemed like a winning combination of flavors, and the perfect cozy dinner for a romantic night in. It was indeed delicious, but a word of warning - if you're one of those vegans who doesn't believe in eating any fats, then this recipe is not for you. Actually if you're one of those vegans, then most of my recipes are not for you, so you're probably not even reading this blog. But anyway, this recipe does not skimp on the buttery flavors, so consider yourself warned. The lemon juice and zest really brightens it up and counters the richness though, and complements the "crab meat" beautifully. For me, it had just the right amount of heat from the Thai chiles, but feel free to adjust based on how much heat you like or don't like.
Linguine with Vegan Crab, Lemon, Chile, and Mint (adapted from this recipe)
8 oz. linguine
4 Tbsp. Earth Balance or other vegan butter, divided
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tsp. minced garlic
1–2 Fresno chiles, red jalapeños, or red Thai chiles, seeded, sliced into thin rounds
8 oz. Match vegan crab meat
1 1/2 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lemon juice, divided, plus 2 tsp. (packed) finely grated lemon zest, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, gently torn, divided
1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
2. Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp. Earth Balance with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and stir until just soft, 3–4 minutes. Add garlic and 1 chile and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Add Match vegan crab meat to shallot and garlic mixture. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.
4. Add 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice and 3 Tbsp. pasta cooking liquid to shallot and crab mixture; add a pinch of pepper. Stir until liquid is almost evaporated, about 1 minute.
5. Transfer pasta to skillet and add 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, tossing pasta or stirring with tongs, until liquid is almost evaporated and pasta becomes glossy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp. Earth Balance, 1 Tbsp. oil, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. lemon zest, half of mint, and more chile rounds, if desired.
6. Stir pasta until Earth Balance melts and pasta is well coated, adding more pasta cooking liquid if dry. Divide between bowls; top with remaining 1 tsp. lemon zest and mint. Sprinkle with more lemon juice if desired.