Who knew that crab, jalapeños, and mint played so well together? Before I had a version of this dish at Chicago's Cibo Matto, I'd never seen the three mentioned together in the same sentence. But I was astonished by how they balance each other with the pasta. The sweet crab meat is kept in check by the spicy chiles, and the mint somehow cools it all down.
I searched for a while for a good recipe, before settling on this bare-bones one from WNYC. I cut back on the excessive butter, but basically that's it. For crab, I just used the canned stuff from Whole Foods. Some shallots help add a bit more sweetness and the lemon cuts through the butter's richness.
But it's still all about this odd trio. The end result isn't quite as perfect as the restaurant dish, but it is close.
- 1/2 pound spaghetti
- 6 ounces crab meat
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed and finely chopped
- 2 small shallots, minced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
- Handful of mint, thinly sliced
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the box.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the jalapeños and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for three minutes, or until tender.
When the pasta is done, transfer with a pair of tongs to the skillet. Turn the heat to high, add the rest of the butter, and the crab meat. Cook for a minute to warm the crab, and then add the mint and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.