Seamus Mullen's masterful command of bold flavors shines in this simple summer salad of corn and jumbo lump crabmeat from his new cookbook, "Hero Food." The fresh flavors of both ingredients are set off by the addition of briny pickled shallots and creamy avocado.
CORN AND CRAB SALAD
Start to finish: 20 minutes
4 ears white sweet corn, husks removed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1 clove garlic, grated
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat (pick through to remove bits of shell)
Handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, skin on, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
1/4 cup pickled shallots (see recipe below)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
Ground black pepper
Handful fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces
Leaves from 1 branch fresh tarragon, torn
Bring a large pot of salt water to a boil. Add the corn and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove the corn from the water and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Once the corn can be handled, cut the kernels off the cobs. To do this, stand each ear on its wide end and saw down the length of the cob with a serrated knife. Turn and repeat until all of the kernels are removed. Set aside.
In a large serving bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice, the vinegar and garlic. Mix well, then whisk in the olive oil. Fold in the corn kernels, crabmeat, tomatoes, cucumber, pickled shallots and avocado, being careful as you mix so as not to mash the ingredients.
Season with salt, black pepper and Aleppo pepper, then garnish with fresh basil and tarragon.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 410 calories; 250 calories from fat (61 percent of total calories); 28 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 50 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 18 g protein; 6 g fiber; 440 mg sodium.
Start to finish: 40 minutes
Makes 1 cup
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon coriander seed
1/2 tablespoon fennel seed
1/2 tablespoon guindilla pepper
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 sprig fresh dill
1 clove garlic
To make the pickling liquid, in a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander, fennel, guindilla pepper, thyme, dill and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. You should have about 1 cup of liquid. Strain out and discard the solids.
Use a mandoline to slice the shallots paper-thin. Add the shallots to the pickling liquid and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, up to a week.
(Recipes from Seamus Mullen's "Hero Food," Andrews McMeel, 2012)