Sunday, June 14, 2015

Salade of Alaskan Snow Crab and Artichoke Hearts en Remoulade

     A Classic Café Style Salad
     Snow Crab and King Crab Salads were a popular item in cafés from the 1970's through the 1990's.  Crab salads like this are still popular in yacht clubs, where classic food never goes out of style.   
     Pre-packaged shelled crab does command a high price, because it is a convenience.  It is much more cost effective to purchase live crab or frozen boiled crab, then shell the crab in the kitchen.  Some folks think that shelling crab is tedious work, but after one gets the knack of systematically removing the shell the work is kind of fun.  The goal is always to end up with the biggest undamaged pieces of crabmeat as possible.  Big pieces of crab meat create eye appeal.  Cracking the claw so it can be used as a garnish does require a little bit of skill.  
     One half of a medium size snow crab yields enough crab meat for 1 salad portion.  Sometimes I also make this recipe with blue crab.  It takes 2 to 3 blue crabs to make 1 salad.    
     Remoulade is supposed to taste zesty and full of life.  Remoulade is often served in a ramekin as a condiment, but it can be used just like mayonnaise when making a salad.  The remoulade in today's recipe is coats the snow crab and artichokes.
     There are many varieties of remoulade sauce.   The recipe can vary from one region to the next.  Louisiana style remoulade can be white, yellow, orange or pink.  Every Louisiana chef adds their own personal touch.  Each color of Louisiana remoulade is designed for specific applications.  
     French Remoulade is usually only white or yellow.  Curry Powder is added to make the yellow version.  White Remoulade is considered to be the classic.  White remoulade is used in today's recipe.

     In fine restaurants, chefs make mayonnaise and they do not purchase pre-made mayonnaise.  At a home kitchen, pre-made mayonnaise is a convenience and it has a longer refrigerated shelf life than fresh made mayonnaise.  Freshly made mayonnaise can only be chilled for 7 days.
     Sometimes I make mayonnaise for fine sauces in this food website.  I have published mayonnaise recipes in the past.  The benefit of making your own mayonnaise is that a healthy oil that has a neutral flavor can be used.  Olive oil should not be used to make mayonnaise, because the mayonnaise will taste like an Italian Aioli Sauce.  A neutral flavored oil like canola oil is best.

     Unseasoned canned whole artichoke hearts are good, but fresh is always best.  Some brands of canned artichoke hearts are better than others.  The ones that are packed in glass jars seem to be higher quality.  It is always best to purchase canned whole artichoke hearts and slice them yourself.
     Poaching fresh artichokes is easy to do.  Adding lemon to the salted boiling water prevents oxidation, so the artichokes remain bright green.  Part of the stem can be retained to create an interesting look.
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.  (3 or salad portions) 
     Any extra remoulade can be served with seafood or used as a sandwich spread.
     Pre-made mayonnaise is used in this recipe.   
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in a mixing bowl. 
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced tarragon.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped dill weed.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced chervil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of thin sliced chives.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Step 2:  Add 1 tablespoon of minced capers.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of anchovy paste.
     Add 8 finely chopped cornichon pickles.  (About 4 tablespoons)
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Chill the remoulade for twenty minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Snow Crab Preparation:
     Try to keep the meat in chunky whole pieces.  Be sure to remove any small pieces of cartilage or shells.
     Step 1:  Select a medium size pre-boiled snow crab leg cluster that has a claw attached.  The legs should be about more than 1 foot long.  
     Step 2:  Break off the whole crab claw.
     Crack the shell around the crab claw lightly with the back of a knife.
     Remove the shell piece that covers the claw meat, so the claw meat is exposed.  Leave the pinchers intact.
     Chill the crab claw.  The claw will be used later as a garnish.
     Step 3:  Use kitchen shears or a chef knife to split the shell on the legs open.  Remove the any cartilage tendons.  Set the leg meat aside.
     Step 4:  Break open the crab body and shell the chunks of crab meat.
     Set the crab meat aside.
     Snow Crab and Artichoke Hearts en Remoulade:
     Place the shelled crab meat in a mixing bowl.
     Add 3 sliced artichoke hearts. 
     Add just barely enough remoulade to coat the crab and artichokes with flavor.  (Some more remoulade will be poured over the salad later when it is plated.)
     Gently fold the ingredients together.  Try not to shred the crab meat chunks

     Salade of Alaskan Snow Crab and Artichoke Hearts en Remoulade:
     Step 1:  Place a few inner leaves of Boston Lettuce on the center of a plate, so they form a shallow cup shape.
     Place some thin sliced tomato wedges on the plate around the lettuce.
     *Tuck the tomatoes under the lettuce cup, so it does not topple over when the heavy crab salad is set in place.
     Sprinkle some thin sliced green onion tops on the tomatoes and the plate.
     Step 2:  Mound the snow crab and artichoke hearts en remoulade on the center of the lettuce cup.
     Place the reserved shelled snow crab claw on top as a garnish.
     Spoon a little bit more of the remoulade sauce over the crab claw and the crab salad.
     This is a nice tasting salad entrée that can be served as a light lunch or as a dinner appetizer!

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