Gisele Perez was born in New Orleans, LA, a fact of which she is extremely proud. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was a child, joining the mass migration from Louisiana in the1950′s, but made regular visits back to New Orleans throughout her childhood, and continues the pilgrimages as often she can. She is currently the owner of Small Pleasures, a full service boutiquecatering company, in Los Angeles, CA. She blogs at www.smallpleasurescateringblog.com and www.painperdublog.com, and is a lifestyle columnist at www.LAFoodExaminer.com and www.LAPartyPlanningExaminer.com.
Earlier this month, the French Market in New Orleans hosted the Creole Tomato Festival, marking the arrival of southern Louisiana’s legendary tomatoes (believed by locals to be the best in the world, thanks to the region’s steamy climate and the Delta’s rich alluvial soil) on the city’s restaurant menus, and in its local farmers markets.
I’d say this marks a perfect time to break out the Crabmeat Ravigote recipe, and stuff a few of the big reds for a light and elegant luncheon.
Oh, and if you don’t happen to be in Louisiana, that’s all right. The recipe is perfect for stuffing local heirlooms now arriving at your farmers market, too.
Crabmeat Ravigote Stuffed Tomatoes
1 pound lump crabmeat
1/2 cup of Sauce Ravigote (recipe follows)
4 medium to large ripe beefy tomatoes*
1. Drain excess water from the crabmeat, and pick through it for bits of shell.
2. Add the Sauce Ravigote to the crabmeat, mixing gently with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, so as not to break the lumps.
3. Using a sharp steak knife, cut out the center of the tomatoes starting at the core and working out in a concentric circle. Reserve the tomato meat for sauces or salsas. Salt the inside of the tomatoes lightly, then fill with the dressed crabmeat.
4. Garnish with additional minced parsley and/or basil chiffonade.
* For a finer presentation, you may peel the tomatoes first, by blanching them briefly in boiling water, then immediately cooling them in an ice water bath. The skins will then peel off easily.
Ravigote is one of the many sauces born from the French mother sauce, mayonnaise. A few years ago, I was sitting in an audience listening to Los Angeles’ most prominent restaurant critic when I heard him casually toss off the line “no one makes the classic sauces anymore.” I guess he hadn’t been in New Orleans lately, where thankfully, the classic sauces, including Ravigote, have never been off restaurant menus.
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup Creole mustard
2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons capers
4 scallions, chopped
Chiffonade of 2-3 large basil leaves
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
A healthy pinch of freshly ground white pepper
1. Add the egg to the bowl of a food processor and pour the lemon juice over it. Let stand for one minute, then add the mustard.
2.Turn on the food processor, and dribble the oil in slowly through the feeder tube.
3. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
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