Sunday, March 1, 2015
We make dinner home often, if not often enough. So I figure we're like most people, pleased take-out exists, but quick to feel guilty, too. The plate above we made at home, but we also completely relied on the kindness of strangers. That's crab cakes over some some arugula (pretty much 4 out of 5 dishes in our house include arugula, if just in the salad alongside--peppery greens, what more could one want?). Topped with a sauce whipped up from Vegenaise, Hitching Post's Smoked Tomato Pesto (onions, garlic, smoked, tomatoes, lime juice, spices), and capers for yet more acid and texture. And then a kale-Brussels sprouts salad that's vaguely Caesar-ish and all together delish.
We even cheated on the crab cakes, buying them from the Santa Barbara Fish Market pre-made. They come from a place called Handy, based out of Maryland with crab out of Thailand, but even with all that airfare, they sure are good. Very little filler, no shell, all sweet crab. Fry 'em up in some sunflower oil (about 5 minutes a side) and they're browned and crisp and fresh.
And then you want a bit of everything in a bite, it's one of those meals. The arugula, dressed in a bit of very good olive oil (in our case from Global Gardens) and a bit of Maldon smoked sea salt, because a hint of smoke in every meal makes us feel more primal, etc., complicates the fish in lovely, uncomplicated ways. (Crab cake as zen koan.) The sauce adds richness, acid to the oil. Color. And who doesn't want more smoke and tomato on pretty much anything neutral?
Better yet, this all took nothing to do. (It helped the kale salad was left over from Friday's dinner, and what's nice is the still chilled from the fridge dressing adds an emulsified richness.) Sure, you can buy crab meat and cook up garlic and red pepper and mix it all with panko and herbs and find it doesn't hold (those recipes who pretend you can do this without any egg are just cruel teases), but if someone wants to make you no-filler good ones to buy and fry....
As for the wine, that Refugio Ranch Ineseno is a blend to make everyone love white wine, no matter how much they prefer red. Roussane over Viognier, it's all Rhone white grape goodness, rich but not too, bursting with exotic fruits and spices and making the meal more exotic than it would be on its own.