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Skiing Food Cavalry – King Crab Vermicelli

Man cannot live by skiing alone; frequently there must be a dinner. So I just became your new best friend.

We all know how merciless I am when it comes to calling out bad on-mountain dining. Well I may talk the talk, but I also walk the walk. Hence this column. My chef pals and I are gonna ride to the rescue and save you from eating nuts and berries in your car all winter.

Can’t get a reservation in the chalet for lunch? We’ll have you packing the best lunch on the mountain…period, end of sentence. You’ll be pointing at other people’s french fries and laughing. Wanna fuel up properly the night before a trip to a major-league mountain? We’ll have you finely tuned for battle with a delicious night-before carb-up. You’ll be shredding madly from first chair ’til late lunch time. And wanna absolutely feast like Gordon Ramsay and Bobby Flay had a love child? We’ve got you covered so well, your friends will think your condo is a proper rejoinder to the Araxi in Whistler.

Today we’ll look at a dish for the night before. You’ve got a date with a monster the next morning….Maybe it’s Killington or Whiteface. Maybe it’s a shot at Tuckerman’s Ravine. Or maybe it’s your first day out west. So no matter what, you need to be rip-roaring ready from first chair; none of this warm-up stuff. You’ve got a four-hour fight with the worst the mountain can throw at you (before tucking into lunch, that is).

You need pasta.

I’m an old soccer player. We lived on pasta the night before games. It was a custom, it was a ritual, it was a panacea. And it worked. “Play all day Jay” (so named by the opponents because I could go for 90+ minutes) and the rest of his crew were just as deadly in extra time and beyond as we were from the opening touch.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and without a doubt, a good pasta dinner the night before is everything you need to traverse the entire mountain without being weighed down or feeling loagy.

Now – Surprise! – the Italian guy is giving you a recipe for macaroni that does not have cheese or marinara sauce. (Don’t worry…you’ll get my arrabiata recipe later on down the road.) But what this dish lacks in Italian heritage it makes up for in flavor. The crab is accented with spicy Fresno chilis, the white wine makes it more royal, and the lime at the end wakes up the entire dish. It’s a brilliant blend of flavors, and it’s as easy as stacking Legos to make.

Ingredients: (for two people)

3/4 lb. vermicelli (I told you…I’m Italian…we like macaroni…a lot of macaroni…)

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium sized limes

8 oz claw and leg meat from fresh crabs

one large Fresno pepper

one small shallot (pronounced “shuh-LOT’ :):) #kidding)

1/2 cup white wine

two scallions (ends and tips removed)

one bunch parsley (Italian flat leaf if you can find it)

Salt and pepper to taste

The mise-en-place (that’s the culinary word for prep work) is ridiculously easy, so try to make it look harder than it is when you’re cooking for everyone.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute the shallots, green onions, and peppers, a minute or two only until they cook through. Add the white wine and increase heat until almost completely evaporated. Fold in crab, and juice from one lime. Season with salt and pepper liberally. Remove from heat and fold in the parsley, (always fold in the cold veg off the heat…).

Salt a pot of water and add the other 2 tablespoons olive oil and bring to a rolling boil. Add vermicelli. Cook for about 4 minutes for al dente, test tasting all the while. When done, strain and fold in crab mixture.

Now comes the magic. Grab a long carving fork and use that to twist the pasta in a tablespoon, laying tightly spun spools longitudinally on the plate. Garnish with more crab and peppers. Liberally squeeze the juice from the other lime and drizzle more olive oil over the top. Add pinch of finishing salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy. See video below.