For 12 appetizers or 6 main-dish servings for lunch or brunch
The rich but subtle flavor of avocado is a marvelous foil for the taste of fresh shellfish, especially on a warm summer's day when coolness and freshness are so welcome in a lunch dish. This recipe, along with the separate one for the spicy vinaigrette, more than fills the bill.
- 3 perfectly ripe, medium-to-large Creole* tomatoes
- 3 avocados, 7 to 8 ounces each, preferably the Hass variety
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups spicy vinaigrette
- 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat,** picked through
- 6 sprigs of fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (if for a main-dish) or 12 sprigs (if for an appetizer), for garnish
*South Louisiana's Creole tomatoes are preferred for this recipe, although other good, peak-of-season regional varieties can be used.
FOR A MAIN DISH
- Trim the ends from the tomatoes and cut each tomato into three slices, each about 3/4-inch thick. Cut each slice in half crosswise.
- Cut each avocado in half lengthwise, peel the halves, and cut each of them lengthwise into three slices.
- On each of six chilled dinner plates, alternate three tomato half-slices (placed on their sides) with three avocado slices (also on their sides) on one half of the plate. Season each portion with a total of ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk 1 cup vinaigrette to blend ingredients well, then promptly add the crabmeat to the bowl, mixing very gently with a spoon to keep the lumps intact.
- Divide the crabmeat among the six plates, mounding it on the opposite side of the plate from the sliced tomatoes and avocados. Vigorously whisk 1 cup vinaigrette and drizzle a portion (about 2½ tablespoons) over each serving of sliced tomatoes and avocados, and garnish with a parsley sprig.
FOR AN APPETIZER
- Trim ends of each tomato and cut each into four slices, each about a half-inch thick.
- Cut each avocado in half lengthwise, peel the halves, and cut each half lengthwise into four slices.
- In the center of each of 12 chilled salad plates, arrange one tomato slice. Fan two avocado slices over each tomato slice and season lightly with kosher salt and pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk 1 cup vinaigrette to blend all ingredients, then promptly add the crabmeat to the bowl, mixing very gently with a spoon to keep the lumps intact.
- Vigorously whisk 1 cup vinaigrette and drizzle about 1 tablespoon over each serving of tomato and avocado. Spoon a portion of the crabmeat over the edge of the tomato and avocado, allowing most of it to fall onto the bare plate, and decorate with a parsley sprig. Serve immediately.
For 2 cups
The versatility of vinaigrette goes far beyond its compatibility with green salads. This one can serve as a marinade for fresh crab claws, boiled shrimp and for fish or other seafood that are to be grilled. It would also be a bracing dressing for potato salad or a cold pasta salad.
Prepare the vinaigrette at least one day before using to allow the flavors to develop. It may be prepared up to three days in advance.
- A medium-size nonreactive mixing bowl
- A metal whisk
- 1/4 cup minced red onions
- 1/4 cup very finely chopped red sweet peppers
- 1/4 cup very finely chopped green sweet peppers
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons crushed red peppers
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons mild-flavored honey, such as clover honey