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[Photograph: Karen Wise]

The appetizer nachos in Ultimate Nachos run the gamut from simple melted cheese on chips to insane platters of Reuben sandwich-esque bites and croque monsieur stacks. These crab-topped nachos offer an app that's somewhere in the middle. Neither pedestrian nor gut-bombing, this elegant dish is mostly light and refreshing, with plenty of sweet, briny shellfish to satisfy. The recipe is Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson's interpretation of Hugo Ortega's dish from his eponymous restaurant in Houston.

Why I picked this recipe: This light and bright appetizer platter looked like just the thing for the ever-warming evenings.

What worked: The crab salad was well-balanced and easy to execute.

What didn't: I thought the ratio of crab salad to chips was a little too heavy on the crab, making for a much more substantial meal than advertised. Still, this isn't the worst problem to have—just add more chips!

Suggested tweaks: If a full pound of shucked crab meat is out of your budget, you could easily sub in chopped poached shrimp, or even play with the ratio of crab to potatoes. More potatoes and less crab would still be good. Another, admittedly less budget-friendly twist, would be to use lobster instead of crab.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Ultimate Nachos to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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