Well, friends, our first summer holiday is upon us. Memorial Day is here and we Americans officially kick off the summer season today. For many, this holiday is about picnics, door-buster sales, and the dreaded bikini body deadline, but you all know I am a military brat. As much as I enjoy a good party and a day off, I cannot seperate Memorial Day from its intention: to remember our military men and women who have fallen. An even more sobering thought this year for my high school classmates and me as another classmate was laid to rest this weekend. So before we gorge ourselves on juicy grilled burgers and ice cold beer, please take a moment to remember our fallen brothers and sisters who, over the past 237 years, have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect our life, liberty, and happiness. Now back to the party, as par of remembering the departed is to LIVE.
As with many of you, good food is something I find pleasure in. When I am enjoying life, there’s usually good food (along with good company!) around. For both Emilie and me, cooking for our family and friends is one of the ways we demonstrate how much we love and care about them. When we’re invited over, needless to say something delicious will be in tow, whether it be a mouthwatering dish or a thirst (stress) quenching bottle of wine. This pasta salad is something I keep in my back pocket for more intimate summer gatherings. This is mainly because in order to enjoy it at its full potential, the dish requires high quality olive oil and fresh crab meat. Freshly snipped basil and just picked cherry tomatoes aren’t bad to have around either, but store bought will work just fine.
Why are high quality ingredients so important? As you can see, there are not a whole lot of them in this recipe. Each one plays its role distinctly and if one doesn’t taste its best, it will sadly bring the others down. Trust me, buying that $20 bottle of arbequina olive oil from the fancy downtown store is worth it in a dish like this…unless they don’t allow customers to sample their wares, then I would be wary. Warm or cold, I guarantee you and your friends will enjoy dining on this pasta salad this summer.
- 1/2 pound crab meat
- 1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup fresh sweet basil leaves, chopped or chiffonaded
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cooked spahgetti
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Set aside if the pasta finishes before the rest of the recipe.
- In a large pan, add olive oil and garlic and turn heat to medium. Allow oil and garlic to heat gently.
- When garlic begins to sizzle, add halved tomatoes to the pan. Stir to coat the tomatoes in the infused oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook tomatoes for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. The ingredients will begin to sizzle again during this time.
- Pour tomatoes and oil into a large, heat resistant mixing bowl and set aside.
- Return pan to heat and add crab meat. Allow crab meat to warm through, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- To build the pasta salad, gather all the ingredients together.
- First add cooked spaghetti to the tomato and olive oil mixture and toss to dress the pasta.
- Next add the crab meat and toss again. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
- Lastly, add the chiffonaded basil and toss one last time.
- Serve pasta salad immediately or cold. If serving cold, allow dish to warm enough in order to allow the olive oil to “thaw” out as it solidifies when cold.