Friday, March 5, 2010

Crab Towers with Avocado and Gazpacho Salsas

I've made this salad many times for various guests.  The magic is in the presentation and in how the three levels of flavor complement them each other.  Everyone asks for this recipe, and I finally decided to share, even though I got it off the web.

Crabmeat Salad
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp minced or grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp mayonnaise
12 oz lump or backfin Atlantic blue crabmeat, carefully picked over for shell fragments


Gazpacho Salsa
1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/8 inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 small cucumber, peeled if desired, seeded, and cut into 1/8 inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium plum tomato, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/8 inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1 small celery rib, cut into 1/8 inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 small red onion, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 small jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro leaves
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar

Avocado Salsa

3 ripe avocados, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp juice from 1 lime

1 cup frisee
2 oranges, peeled and segmented, (optional)

For the Crabmeat Salad - Whisk the olive oil, champagne vinegar, lemon zest, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small bowl Measure 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette into a medium bowl and mix with the mayonnaise.  Add the crabmeat to the mayonnaise mixture and toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.  Se the remaining vinaigrette aside.

For the Gazpacho Salsa - Toss the yellow bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, celery, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, slat, pepper, olive oil, sherry vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside.

For the Avocado Salsa - Toss the avocado, coriander, salt, pepper, and lime juice in a medium bowl and set aside.

To Assemble - place a 3 inch wide round biscuit cutter in the center of an individual place.  Press 1/3 cup of the Avocado Salsa into the bottom of the cutter with the back of a spoon. Lift the cutter off the plate slightly to reveal some but not all the avocado.  Holding the cutter aloft, press 1/3 cup of the Crabmeat Salad evenly into the cutter on top of the avocado.  Lift the cutter to reveal some but not all of the crab salad.  Holding the cutter aloft, use a spoon to pres 1/3 cup of the Gazpacho Salsa evenly into the cutter on top of the crab.  Gently lift the cutter up and away from the plate to reveal the crab tower.  Repeat the procedure five more times with the remaining ingredients.

Dress the frisee with the remaining champagne vinaigrette.  Place a few sprigs of the dressed frisee on top of each crab tower and arrange the orange segments, if using, around the towers.  Serve immediately.

Recipe by American Test Kitchen.

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