Hearts of Palm Salad with Vine-Ripened Tomatoes, Oranges, Bibb Lettuce, Shaved Fennel, and Fried Soft-shell Crabs with Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing

Total Time:
35 min
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
15 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup seeded, finely chopped cucumbers
  • Fried Soft-shell Crabs:
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
  • Essence, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 heads bibb lettuce, cores trimmed and quartered
  • 1/2 pound fennel bulb, tops removed, fronds reserved for garnish
  • 1 (14-ounce) jar hearts of palm, drained and quartered on the bias
  • 4 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes (each about 4 ounces), cut into eighths
  • Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Directions
Fried Soft-shell Crabs:

Preheat the fryer to 360 degrees F.

For the dressing: Combine the yogurt, honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend. Add the cucumber, and mix well.

Combine the buttermilk and eggs in a shallow pan and beat well and season with salt and pepper. Place crabs in buttermilk mixture and marinate for 1 hour. Combine flour and cornmeal and season with Essence. Remove the crabs from the marinade and let excess drip off. Dredge in the cornmeal mixture. Fry until golden brown and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Season with Essence.

Arrange 2 lettuce quarters on each of 4 large plates. Top each with a portion of the shaved fennel. Arrange 2 sliced hearts of palm decoratively around the rim of the plate, and orange segments around the lettuce. Place 2 pieces of tomato at each of the 4 points of the plate. Drizzle the Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing decoratively over the salad, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.


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