Sunday, June 28, 2015

Blue Crab Galantine with Avocado and Confetti Pepper Vinaigrette

     A Nice Café Style Salad Entrée!
     Today's galantine was made with 2 medium size live blue crabs.  That is as fresh as it gets!  The additives to the crab meat in the galantine should be less than 5% of the total mixture.  In other words, a grab galantine should contain 95% crab meat, just like a Maryland Crab Cake.

     I learned how to make Crab Galantines while working with an old French Executive Chef from Provence.  One fourth of our business at that formal French restaurant was Crab Galantine sales!  We sold one 1 Crab Galantine as an appetizer and 2 galantines as an entrée.
     By describing the French Chef as being old, there is a good point to make.  This chef road a bicycle several miles to work everyday.  He ate a steady diet of seafood.  This chef was an experienced mountain climber and he scaled every famous mountain peak worldwide.  On his 65th birthday, the old French Chef actually climbed Mt Everest!  This just goes to show that the stereotypical view that many people have of chefs that are retirement age should just be tossed out the window!

     Technically a Crab Galantine is a true Galantine.  Many chefs define Galantine only as being chicken mousseline encased in chicken skin, that is molded into a cylinder shape before it is cooked.  These chefs claim that Galantine can only be made with poultry.  This not exactly true.
    In essence, Chicken Galantine is just a cylinder shaped pâté that is made with forcemeat.  Cylinder shape and forcemeat are the key words that add credence to extending the definition to cover items like a Crab Galantine.
     Just because crab has no skin, it does not mean that is cannot be prepared as a Galantine.  Shelled crab meat technically is forcemeat.  The crab meat is bound with egg and breadcrumb so it congeals like a pâté.  The crab meat is packed in a cylinder shaped steel ring mold, then it is cooked.  The result is a cylinder shaped congealed Crab Galantine.  Viola!  The word Galantine is redefined!

     All I can say is that the old French Chef must have cooked tens of thousands of Crab Galantines at his restaurant in France, before opening a restaurant in America.  In France, the idea was novel and new.  The Crab Galantine idea was never criticized by French gourmet societies.  In fact the idea drew applause.
     All I can say is that if a "so called expert chef" claims that there is no such thing as a Crab Galantine, then just ignore what is said.  As one can see in the photos, there is such a thing!

      The French chef presented his Crab Galantines conservatively with a Beurre Blanc, because the restaurant clientele was comprised of conservative elderly Florida millionaires.  I thought that a Blue Crab Galantine would also be nice if it was served as a lunch salad entrée.  The Confetti Vinaigrette and sliced avocado presentation turned out to be a good idea for a café style salad.  The flavors go well together.

     Blue Crab Boil:
     This recipe yield 2 medium size blue crabs.
     This crab boil is lightly seasoned and it is well suited for today's recipe.  Most commercial pre-made crab boil spice mixes have an overbearing flavor. 
     *Only live crabs are safe to eat!  Throw away any dead crabs.
     Step 1:  Boil 1 gallon water in a pot over high heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of black peppercorns.
     Add 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 large sprig of fresh dill.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 clove of chopped garlic.
     Add 2 pinches of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper.
     Step 2:  Boil for 5 minutes, so the flavor develops.  Add water if necessary.
     Step 3:  Add 2 medium size live blue crabs.
     Boil the crabs for about 8 to 10 minutes, till they are fully cooked.
     Remove the crabs from the crab boil and let the crabs cool to room temperature.
     Confetti Pepper Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields about 1/3 cup.
     This is a stirred loose vinaigrette.
     Sweet mini bell peppers are best for this recipe.  They come in a variety of bright colors.  
     Step 1:  Place 2 tablespoons of small diced red bell pepper in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of small diced yellow bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced green onion.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Step 2:  Add 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of pomegranate vinegar.
     Add 2 tablespoons of pomace olive oil while stirring.
     Add 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil while stirring.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 3:  Chill the Confetti Vinaigrette for 1 hour.  
     Warm the vinaigrette to room temperature and stir before serving.
     Blue Crab Galantine: 
     This recipe yields 1 petite Blue Crab Galantine.
     The crab mixture should be 95% crab meat and 5% of the rest of the ingredients.
     Step 1:  Shell the 2 boiled blue crabs and remove all of the usable meat.  (Try to leave the crab meat in chunks and do not shred the meat.)
     Step 2:  Place the crab meat in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped red bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped yellow bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced green onion.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 3:  Add just a very light little sprinkle of bread crumbs.  (About 2 teaspoons of bread crumbs is plenty!)
     Add 2 teaspoons of whisked egg.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of melted unsalted butter.
     Gently mix the ingredients together.
     Step 4:  Place a 1 1/2" to 2" wide stainless steel ring mold on a cutting board.  (The ring mold should be about 2" tall.)
     Lightly brush the inside of the ring mold with melted unsalted butter.
     Place the crab cake mixture in the ring mold.
     Firmly press the crab mixture into ring mold.  Be sure that the ring mold is completely filled.  (Any extra crab mixture can be cooked like a small patty for a snack!)
     Step 5:  Heat a sauté pan or cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Step 6:  Slide a spatula under the ring mold that is filled with the crab mixture.
     Use the spatula to set the ring mold with the crab mixture in the hot pan.
     Grill the bottom of the galantine for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, till the surface of the crab meat is a light golden brown color and a crust forms.
     Step 7:  Use a spatula cap the top of the ring mold, then grasp the ring mold with tongs to flip the galantine over.
     Grill the galantine for about 30 seconds.
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Cover the top of the galantine with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
     Place the sauté pan with the crab galantine in a 350ºF oven.
     Roast for about 5 minutes, till the galantine is hot in the center.
     Step 9:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Remove the foil or parchment paper from the top of the galantine.
     Use a spatula to set the ring mold on a cutting board.
     Let the galantine rest till it cools to just above room temperature, so it gels.
     Step 10:  Hold the ring mold with a dry towel wrapped around your fingers.
     Use a spoon to gently press the crab galantine down, while lifting the ring mold up 1/4 of an inch.  
     *Do not completely remove the ring mold yet!  This step will loosen the galantine in the ring mold, so plating the galantine will be easier.

     Blue Crab Galantine with Avocado and Confetti Pepper Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields 1 petite salad.
     Step 1:  Arrange several avocado slices on a plate, so the slices point out from the center.
     Use a ring mold to place a small mound of alfalfa sprouts in the center of the of the plate.
     Place a few peeled thin sliced cucumber slices on top of the sprouts.  Try to form a round flat surface for the galantine to set on.
     Step 2:  Use a spatula to set the galantine on top of the cucumbers and gently remove the loosened ring mold.  (Grasp the ring mold and use a spoon to press the galantine out like a cork!)
     Step 3:  Spoon a generous amount of the Confetti Pepper Vinaigrette over the avocado slices.

     The aroma of a very lightly seasoned Crab Galantine is elegant!  The galantine cooking method causes congealing and gelling of the crab meat juices with the egg to form an angelic texture that is superior to an ordinary crab cake.  This is a nice French Provence regional style of cooking blue crab.  

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