Thursday, May 22, 2008

Crabmeat, Apple, and Mango Salad on Cumin Apple Chips (Page 76)

  • Date: Saturday, May 17, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Yano, Irene, Alp, Phil O, and Ben W
  • Recipe Rating: A-

Despite my good intentions I have veered off-course a bit from my all-seafood-all-the-time plan for the summer. So I picked this first course to go with dinner on Saturday in order to get back on the seafood track. This was a well composed dish. A simple salad of crab meat, green apple, mango, and cilantro was dressed with an apple-shallot dressing and layered napoleon-style between crispy cumin apple chips. I will shamefully admit that I don't love crab the way many people do. Yet despite this bias, I found this dish relatively enjoyable. The dressing/sauce was very tasty, and the fruitiness of the apple and mango provided a nice contrast to the sea flavor of the crab. Texturally, it was a great dish. The cumin apple chips were thin, crispy, and delicate, while the crab gave the dish a meatiness and the raw apple provided some crunch. It was a very refreshing first course, perfect for a summer dinner. It was a nice way to start a meal.

Here is the recipe.

I don't like bitter green vegetables. There aren't many foods I don't like, and I pride myself on being a flexible eater. But I don't like bitter green vegetables. And I am not ashamed. I DON'T LIKE BITTER GREEN VEGETABLES! See? I'll shout it from the rooftop. Collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, chicory... they just aren't my thing. I appreciate their culinary worthiness. I eat them. But I would never choose them amongst other options. I don't feel bad about it though.

However I also don't like crab. About this I feel a deep sense of shame. I never admit to it in public (so don't tell anyone!). Not liking crab is like not liking Bob Dylan, or Kieslowski movies -- it you don't like it you are wrong. It's shameful. It's embarrassing. I have nothing to say in my own defense. It is just too intensely fishy for me. I eat crab of course -- I am not so silly as to refuse to consume it just because it's not my fave. But I don't truly enjoy it. Worse, when I come across it I often wish it weren't there. We had one non-seafood eater at our meal on Saturday, so I made her a crab-free version of this dish. Then I stared across the table enviously at her as she ate it, wishing I had a crab-free version myself.

I will get over this eventually. The more I cook with something, the more I appreciate it -- years ago I didn't like red meat, and look at me now. I had a huge filet mignon for dinner tonight, drenched in a veal stock based sauce and it was delicious! So there's still hope for crab. In time I will even come around to bitter green vegetables. I have no doubt. In the meantime, I will shamefully wish the crab weren't there!


Magdalen said...

My husband doesn't do any shellfish or mollusks or cephalopods (I hope those are spelled correctly). Supposedly, he had a bad reaction to seafood on some occasion and as a result chooses not to indulge. Eh, no biggie, although I keep forgetting about shrimp...

I have some sympathy with your shame, though. Despite a childhood summer home on the beach in Maine, which meant annual boiled lobster dinners, I really don't much care about lobster now. I know -- how crazy is that. It's LOBSTER and I'm supposed to be all impressed. But no, the appeal has faded, and I doubt it will grow back.

Just out of curiosity, what did you use in the non-crab version of this dish?

Teena said...

No lobster for you, huh? Yeah, I'm sort of on the fence about lobster myself. I don't dislike it at all, but I am enticed much more by a big steak than a lobster!

My non-crab version was pretty pathetic actually -- I just left out the crab. So it was just the chopped apple and mango salad between the cumin apple chips. Irene (the person it was for) said it was good, but she's polite, so who knows?!?