When you’re thinking of ordering Crabmeat Maison at Galatoire’s your first question should always be, “How’s the crab today?” This is code for determining the presence of shell fragments and sweetness. It should be free of the first and brimming with the second.
Once you’ve been given the thumbs up by your waiter you’ll want it as a starter. It’s usually served on a bed of lettuce in an avocado with a halved tomato on the side.
At Maison Clary I serve the dish as a high rise (with no permits needed from the city). It makes for a nice presentation and it’s great for lazy people because it’s already cut up and ready to go down the hatch.
You just need a metal ring like the one below (and trust me, it’s the sine qua non of food porn paraphernalia). Tall food’s where it’s at so I’m working on perfecting the art of the culinary capstone. Perhaps balancing some impossibly long chive spears in a future posting, maybe even a bride & groom topper at some indeterminate point in the future. We’ll see.
But in the meantime, you, the reader, need to grease the inside and start building. Diced avocado with a squirt of citrus, topped with seeded diced tomato, topped with the crabmeat then garnished with sprouts as I did here or with frisée or even chopped lettuce.
The plates should be made pretty close to the time you serve. And pay attention to the amount of remoulade you mix into the crab. It should be just enough to bind. If you add too much the crab chunks will fall off the side like old plaster off of a building. To be safe you can put the dressed crab in the fridge or even freezer for five to firm it up before adding it to the pile.
I’ve seen other ingredients used in the stack, like quinoa and couscous in place of the avocado but I go with the traditional mix only altering the presentation so that it looks both professional and appetizing. One possible variation would be to replace half the crab with small, barely steamed rock shrimp.
If you build the tower high enough it can – with the addition of lots of warm French bread – be a light meal so go get your ingredients and start stacking.
- For the salad:
- 1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat
- 2 medium sized tomatoes (any color)
- 1 cup sprouts (or frisee or lettuce)
- 2 medium avocados
- For the remoulade sauce:
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon capers (any size)
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon green onion
- 2 tablespoons diced pickles
- 2 tablespoon brown mustard
- fat pinch of cayenne (or ½ tsp. Crystal)
- For the salad:
- Check the crabmeat for shells & separate lumps carefully.
- Dice the avocado and squeeze some lemon or lime juice on it.
- Seed tomatoes and cut into dice.
- Once the remoulade is made add it slowly to the crab being careful not to break up the lumps too much. And only add enough to bind the crab.
- For the remoulade:
- Puree all the ingredients in a blender.
- Save some additional capers for garnish if you like them whole.
- For the assembly:
- Seriously, you're still reading this? You didn't see the picture?
- Just stack baby stack!
- Now eat.