The gastronomical highlight of my trip to New Orleans in June was a dinner at Galatoire’s, where I started with the restaurant’s luscious Shrimp Remoulade. Back home, I was able to recreate the dish and wrote about it here. At that meal, our friend Gene, an old Galatoire’s hand, started with Crabmeat Maison. Stolen tastes established that the dish was also a stunner, and I was going to be haunted by it until I could make it at my own maison and eat more of it – much more. I had the recipe on a card given me by Galatoire’s years ago, so this week I pulled it out and made the dish.
The dressing was another 11-ingredient extravaganza, like the remoulade dressing for the shrimp. In this case, it started with a freshly made mayonnaise base, using egg yolks, red wine vinegar, grainy mustard, lemon juice, and vegetable oil. You fold in nonpareil capers, chopped scallions, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper, and then chill the concoction long enough for all the flavors to blend. Which they do, quite subtly.
It was a lush sauce, generally in the family of ravigote, a name that covers several different varieties of sauce. This is clearly the New Orleanian style, which loves to hyper-enrich classic French sauces. We could tell that it would go wonderfully well on any number of cold foods.
So I folded my carefully cleaned backfin crabmeat into the sauce, shredded some Boston lettuce (sorry, Galatoire’s, but as I said in my earlier post, we don’t do Iceberg in our house) onto two plates, heaped on the crab, and garnished the dishes with thick slices of ripe tomato – an heirloom variety, as close as I could get to New Orleans’ beloved Creole tomato.
It was quite lovely. The lettuce and tomato were not just cosmetic touches; their flavors and textures actively contributed to the overall palatal pleasure. And the dish even looked like the one we had that June evening in the restaurant.
One small defect: There was a little too much sauce for the amount of crab. I should have added the sauce by degrees to the crab until it was sufficiently moistened, not folded all the crab into all the sauce at once. I’ll know better next time. And there will be a next time, because this is a terrific way to serve crabmeat, and really very little trouble to make. Do it once just to get the feel of it, and it’s a dish you’ll come back to often.