Starting the year off with gratitude is easy when you live in the North Bay in Sonoma and Marin Counties. The rains are epic and will hopefully end our drought. The rain also creates a perfect reason to stay home and cook. With McEvoy Ranch Olivo Nuovo, local Dungeness crab, Meyer lemons and Bellwether Farms Crème Fraiche in the pantry, all that is needed for inspiration is our local food genius Michele Anna Jordan. Here’s her latest Crab Pasta with McEvoy Ranch extra virgin olive oil.
Jordan writes a weekly column for the local Press Democrat and has written several wonderful cookbooks. She is an accomplished writer with a keen sense of humor and is extremely knowledgeable about food and wine. Several years ago, Jordan published a recipe for Meyer lemon vinaigrette using the whole lemon – peel and all.
Meyer Lemons are a bountiful crop in the North Bay in December and January and if you have a friend with a tree, you are lucky indeed. Meyers have a thin skin, mild acidity and a heady aroma. The vinaigrette recipe is extremely simple and although it looks a little like a broken custard when it is finished, it is delicious. I have used the vinaigrette here as the base for the sauce for the crab pasta.
Dungeness crab season came this year with a slight delay due to the demoic acid issues that kept the season closed last year. There have been some pricing concerns for the crab fishermen but happily we are able to get local crab!
Bellwether Farms Crème Fraiche is produced in Petaluma by the Callahan Family who pioneered artisan sheep milk cheese production in Sonoma County. The crème fraiche is made with cow’s milk from a neighboring Jersey herd. It has a rich, nutty flavor with a tart finish and provides an ideal creamy background to enhance the olive oil and lemon flavors.
The seasonal availability of McEvoy Ranch’s Olivo Nuovo elevates the dish and provides an opportunity to celebrate the Tuscan tradition of sharing seasonal bounty with friends. (If you’re out of Olio Nuovo try this dish with McEvoy Ranch’s Traditional Tuscan Blend Olive Oil, it’s delicious!)
These ingredients are truly a celebration of local seasonal bounty and a very real reason to be grateful.
McEvoy Ranch Olio Nuovo, Meyer Lemon and Crab Pasta – Serves 4
1 medium size Meyer lemon – peel and all!
1 garlic clove crushed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste (Red Chili flakes or Aleppo pepper can be substituted)
Start by cutting the lemon in half. Then, remove seeds and cut each half into ½ inch pieces. Finally, put the lemon into a food processor and pulse.
Add in garlic, salt and olive oil and puree everything to your desired thickness.
Once complete, transfer vinaigrette to a bowl and add black pepper or chili flakes.
Try this vinaigrette recipe as a delicious sauce for grilled fish or chicken.
2 cups of cleaned crab meat
½ pound capellini or other long pasta
1 cup Bellwether Farms Crème Fraiche
1 Meyer lemon cut into wedges for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs – parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil will all work well here.
Start by tossing the crab with vinaigrette and adding salt to taste.
Next, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
Once cooked, remove pasta to a bowl. Be sure to keep some of the pasta water.
Then, toss the pasta with the crème fraiche.
Add crab mixture to pasta and toss lightly – try to keep crab somewhat intact.
If needed, add pasta water to thin sauce.
Finally, plate the pasta in individual bowls and garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges. Don’t forget to drizzle your pasta with McEvoy Olio Nuovo.