Crab Towers with Avocado & Gazpacho Salsas

Published February 1, 2005.

Why this recipe works:

Sometimes a dish served in a restaurant is so delicious and impressive-looking that we just have to try to make it ourselves. A crab salad molded into towers, from the Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle, is one such dish, but a hotel restaurant can easily handle the recipe’s 35 ingredients. Was… read more

Sometimes a dish served in a restaurant is so delicious and impressive-looking that we just have to try to make it ourselves. A crab salad molded into towers, from the Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle, is one such dish, but a hotel restaurant can easily handle the recipe’s 35 ingredients. Was there a way to re-create the flavors and presentation at home, with fewer ingredients and a lot less effort?

By breaking down the recipe for this appetizer into its components—crab salad, avocado–hearts of palm salsa, and gazpacho salsa—we were able to address each one separately. For the crab salad, we used lump crabmeat mixed with a little mayonnaise and champagne vinaigrette. We eliminated the hearts of palm from the salsa; it was impossible to find any that tasted decent, and tasters felt the avocado alone worked quite well. For the gazpacho salsa, we used only one kind of bell pepper rather than two and omitted the diced lime and orange segments that were in the original recipe; we also cut back on some of the seasonings, limiting ourselves to sherry vinegar and olive oil. Garnishes were simplified to frisée and orange segments. Now that we’d streamlined the components, we had to assemble the dish. The restaurant uses timbale rings, but we found our workaday biscuit cutter did the job just fine.

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Serves 6

You can prepare the crabmeat salad and gazpacho salsa several hours ahead of serving, but the avocado salsa should be prepared just before assembly.

Ingredients

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