The salsa I have often prepared as a ‘bed’ for these wonderful crab cakes from the Union Square Greenmarket has no formula. Usually dominated by tomatoes of some kind, it’s always a (varying) mélange of bits of herbs and spices, often including a bit of some kind of allium.
The crab and the salsa is always accompanied by a vegetable, which, depending upon what I have, can really brighten up a color palate which would already be doing some showing off.
In this case there was a lagniappe, one small heirloom tomato, originally intended to be part of the salsa (along with another of its own kind, a Striped German, and a few cherry tomatoes). Last night it was still a very light yellow, but it had been sitting at the window for days, just as long as its companion, from the same farm, so I just assumed it too would be ripe by now. Not paying attention, I started slicing it before I noticed that it was very firm, and that it had almost no taste. I decided a little heat might be just what it needed, and it was: I ended up with a luscious side dish of ‘fried yellow tomato’, and wished there had been more of its sort.
- two terrific crab cakes from PE & DD Seafood (the ingredients are crab, egg, flour, red & green peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, milk, celery, and parsley), heated in a heavy copper pan, 3 to 4 minutes to each side, served with some dressed arugula from Hawthorne Valley Farm, which had been partially covered by a salsa composed of one Striped German heirloom tomato from Central Valley Farm and a few Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, all chopped, salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a bit of homemade French Basque piment d’Espellate, some dried Itria-Sirissi chili, peperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia, scissored garlic chives from Lani’s Farm, and, once plated, drizzled on top with the very small amount of juices left at the bottom of the bowl of salsa, the whole assemblage then sprinkled with micro basil from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- Maxibel Haricots Verts, from Norwich Meadows Farm, blanched, drained and dried, reheated in oil, finished with salt, pepper, and stemmed and chopped flowering chervil from Willow Wisp Farm
- one small unripe heirloom tomato from Central Valley Farm, cut into small pieces, sautéed in olive oil in a small copper pan until the edges were beginning to brown, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, and a pinch of Turbonado sugar, sprinkled with a small amount of several chopped fresh herbs that had been briefly hanging out in the refrigerator
- the wine was a California (Lodi) rosé, Karen Birmingham Rosé Lodi 2015
- the music was Antonio Vivaldi’s first (of 94) opera, the 1713 ‘Ottone In Villa’, performed by Giovanni Antonini, conducting Il Giardino Armonico