Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is "Crab-Avocado Ravioli“. The fresh colors and flavors of this elegant appetizer are so summery and look especially good served on a big white plate. But it does not hurt to also garnish this unusual dish with some fresh chives, purple sage flowers, bright orange apricot balm flowers, and red flowers from an orange sage or other edible flowers.
The original recipe for this dish comes from chef Pascal Barbot of the famous „L` Astrance“, a „3 étoiles au Michelin“ and „5 toques au Gault & Millau“ restaurant on „rue Beethoven“ (could not let that go unnoticed, of course) in that famous city called Paris. Sure sounded a tad intimidating to me. And called for an elegant presentation, at least a good try.
Dorie´s recipe adaptation calls for crabmeat, sea salt, juice and zest of a lime, shallot, cilantro, and almond oil for the crab salad part. At L`Astrance, the salad has chives but no cilantro and no shallot. And that is the route I followed as well as we are not too fond of cilantro. The most challenging part of this recipe seemed to be the slicing of the avocado for the "ravioli effect". To make sure that I would get a least a few decent slices, I hunted down quite a few perfectly ripe avocoados and sliced them as thin as I could using a very large and sharp knife. You slice the avocado skin on and pit in. Great new technique to learn and extremly challenging if I may say so - these avocado pits are rather unruly if you attempt to slice them...
Although it is technically a fruit, the mild-flavored avocado is used as a vegetable. Native to central America, parts of Africa, Australia, Israel and the Canaries, the Hass variety (considered to be the best), which we get around here has a dark, knobbly skin and hails mostly from Israel. Just a few years ago we used to find less Hass and more smooth-skinned Fuerte variety which I like less because it usually arrives at the store rock-hard and often does not seem to ripen properly despite numerous efforts on my part to ripen them quickly by putting them in a brown paper bag with a banana and keeping them out of the fridge. So Hass it is nowadays at our house. But, as always, I try to go for an unblemished skin, and flesh that gives slightly if squeezed gently, though, of course, it should not actually be soft.
Other than the above-mentioned crab salad and perfectly ripe avocados, I considered one more element of this recipe to be quite important. The oil. What better excuse to finally go and pay a visit to my favorite oil mill again – right here downtown Bonn. So, when I rushed there last week and got a bottle of their native cold-pressed almond oil, I also picked up my absolute favorite cold-pressed oil of all times for drizzling on avocado, the pistachio oil (remember Anne Leblanc´s Pistachio Avocado we made back in May 2013 and that can see here). I also bought a bottle of a very mild olive oil to make the Olive-Oil Ice Cream again that we made back in June 2012 (you can see the ice cream here) and that we loved so much.
But back to the almond oil – sweet tasting and light and utterly delicious, this oil is the perfect compliment to the nutty avocado and mild enough to let all the flavors of this lovely dish shine through.
To see how much the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this recipe, please go here.
If you happen to own Dorie Greenspan´s "Around my French Table", you will find the recipe for these lovely Crab-Avocado Ravioli on pages 185.
For more information about the almond oil and the oil mill, you can go here.
For more information on L`Astrance cookbooks called "Astrance Livre de Cuisine", you can go here.