Ideas for dinner tonight. Household and kitchen tips, recipes, tweaks. What's worked great, and not so great.
I LOVE this! This is one of my favorite things to make either for a festive appetizer or a nice luncheon. It’s diet friendly, beautiful, and really tasty. It’s especially wonderful if you can dine al fresco! Don’t know why, but there’s something about fresh air and crab meat. (my absolute favorite food in the world!)
I first used the recipe from a cookbook called Restaurant Favorites at Home, but again, I have changed it fairly significantly. If this version isn’t to your liking, check out the original! It had too much mustard flavor, that didn’t appeal to me, but hey, what the heck, it’s a great cookbook anyway. Check it out! It’s made by the editor’s of Cook’s Illustrated. (The title in the cookbook is Crab Towers with Avocado and Gazpacho Salsas) This recipe is a bit labor intensive, but if you’ve got the time, and some good company coming, a great glass of wine to go with it, it’s so worth it! It’s a 3 step recipe, I’ll write the original, but will put what I ended up using after several preparations next to it in parenthesis. Have fun and experiment with what you think you’ll like the best. Better yet, just use this as a guide, and use your imagination to make it your own!
You’ll need 3 bowls, and a timbale. A timbale is like a cookie cutter, but taller. I had a really hard time finding just the right item, so I went to Lowe’s. I got a piece of PVC pipe, 2″ wide and cut to be about 2″ tall. You can make it whatever height you’d like your towers to be. It’s even easier, and you can make them ahead of time if you get as many pieces of PVC pipe you’d like to have salads. Otherwise, you have to assemble just before serving. I like to make ahead, so I have tons of PVC!
3 T olive oil ( 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 truffle oil, but I use a little more of each, maybe 4-5 T)
1/2 t Dijon mustard (not for me, but hey, give it a go)
1T champagne vinegar (Seasoned rice vinegar or white balsamic vinegar, I really liked the seasoned rice the best, again a little more works well)
1 t grated lemon zest ( 2-3 t, I LOVE lemon, and also some minced lemon balm is a great addition also)
1/2 t salt, (kosher or sea salt)
1/8t black pepper (who’s going to measure 1/8 of a teaspoon!? use how ever much you like!)
2T mayonnaise (heaping)
12 oz lump or back fin crabmeat, (16 oz BIG chunks)
In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, lemon, mustard, salt and pepper. Measure 3 T (4) of the mixture into a medium bowl and mix with the mayonnaise. Add the crab to the mayo mix and toss to coat. Cover w/ plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Set the remaining vinaigrette aside.
3 ripe Avocados cut into 1/4″ dice (4)
1/4 t ground coriander
1/2 t salt (kosher or sea salt)
1/8t ground pepper (again!?)
2T lime juice (Joe and Nelly’s key lime juice is FAB! plus a tad of a splash)
1 c frisee (any pretty lettuces will do)
2 oranges segmented and pith removed (mandarins from a can works great, and simplifies greatly)
Toss the avocado, coriander, salt, pepper and lime juice in a medium bowl, set aside.
1 small yellow pepper cored, seeded and cut into 1/8″ pieces. About 1/2 a cup (meh, maybe a tad more, I also add red bell pepper)
1/2 small cucumber, peeled if desired, seeded and cut into 1/8″ pieces. (I use about 1/4 of a cucumber, don’t bother with the seeding, or peeling, the pieces are so small, and the extra color and crunch work nicely)
1 plum tomato, cored seeded, and cut into 1/8″ pieces. (again, I use more like 2 tomatoes, don’t core, seed etc. I just dice and throw it in. You might want to try to keep so much of the juice out of it though. A paper towel will soak it up well before you throw it into the mix)
1 small celery rib cut into 1/8″ pieces. (I’m getting tired of the 1/8″ stuff! You can tell I’m not a perfectionist here. Just dice it into small pieces)
1/2 small red onion, minced. (maybe 1/4 of an onion, just have to eyeball it)
3/4 t salt (seemed like way too much to me. I go with maybe 1/4 t and add later if needed)
1T minced cilantro
(1T minced lemon balm or lemon zest)
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced ( 1/2-1 t Tony Legner’s Cat 5 food polish is a great substitute, or mix 1/2 and 1/2)
(1/2-1T minced basil, or Thai Basil)
1/4t ground pepper (to taste)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T sherry vinegar ( Seasoned rice vinegar)
Toss the cucumber, yellow pepper (red) tomato, celery, onion, jalapeno (Cat 5), cilantro, salt, pepper, olive oil, and sherry vinegar (rice vinegar)in a medium bowl, set aside.
Place the PVC or timbale, whichever you are using as a shaper, in the center of an individual plate. Use a spoon to press 1/4 c of the Avocado Salsa into the bottom of the tube using a spoon to press it down. Do the same with the crab mixture, and then the gazpacho salsa. Gently raise the PVC to reveal the salad. Top with Frisee and orange pieces. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette atop. Repeat for remaining servings. Serves 4-6
Let me know how you like it!