Ciao a tutti!
I haven’t written in a while (shocker!) as I’ve been focused heavily on my newsletter, Instagram and trying to figure out TikTok (someone save me) and wondering who is still left here reading.
I decided this time instead of writing a longer on IG, to instead put my creative calories here on the blog. Fair warning, this post has virtually nothing to do with Italy or Italian food, but is instead an update to what I’ve been making and devouring in America, including an outrageous story about chef boyfriends and mayo. I hope you enjoy the random read!
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I decided to stay this stateside holiday season which involved a week in Austin. I’m missing all the rich food (although not missing the coffee), especially the BBQ (bookmark this post!), the warm temps and Italy meets Texas fun with Georgette of Girl in Florence (now also Zug!)
I traveled with my current boyfriend, a Michelin-star trained chef in San Francisco and was very resourceful for mapping our meals out- lucky me! Double lucky was getting back home after Xmas to be met with a generous ration of crab and caviar for our NY eating festivities.
Here’s to sharing some of this luck with a recipe he was willing to divulge. It’s crab season here in San Francisco, I don’t know where you are but try to source seasonal and local crab meat.
Although due to supply shortages, the cost is quite high. Consider a sustainable purchase from the right purveyor as a treat! If you can’t swing crab or sturgeon caviar, I think any tinned or jarred fish of choice would work for this and trying with a different affordable roe of choice. In case you’re wondering the difference, this is a great explainer piece on Chowhound.
With this dip/salad, we stuffed in hollowed out bread rolls and topped with Tsar Nicolai (local sustainable purveyor) reserve sturgeon caviar. Paired with a super random bottle of Incrocio Bruni from Le Marche which tasted like a fruity, aromatic, body rich & high acid Sauvignon. Easy fancy!
While in Austin, chef got a little obsessed with Duke’s mayo. I don’t know why it’s so special (besides twang) but when I posted on IG, a lot of folks had strong opinions over Hellman’s, Best Foods, etc. Any opinion you’d add?
The mayo became a sort of melodrama, in which he got a jar of it and I had to explain we didn’t have room in the suitcase and couldn’t go on a carry-on. He was not happy, claiming it his “emotional support mayo” that I just forced him to leave behind.
So to best pick my battles, I literally ordered a case of mayo to be sent to my place in SF hoping to make amends (that’s amore) and he still says “it’s not the same as the Austin mayo” he had to part with…Don’t know if I’ll ever be forgiven apparently. :/
So here we are, with a case of Duke’s mayo in San Francisco and a brooding beau. Although when combined with the crab and caviar I did finally understand these hijinks over a condiment 🤣 🤣 🤣
Supposedly what Duke’s mayo different is that “it’s got twang”…? Nevertheless, I will say it seems a bit creamier and brighter/zingier. I honestly not a huge fan the first ingredient is soybean oil but I mean mayo was never meant to be a healthy thing now was it?
Waffling and TMI details aside, here’s the crab salad recipe from Chef EJ aka Mayo Guy™️ and wine pairing from yours truly aka Somm Lady™️ (Hopefully 2022 won’t see further clashes over condiments)
Emotional Support Duke’s Mayo Crab Salad Caviar Rolls
You can also use this recipe for crab dip! Caviar optional.
1 cup cooked clean crab
1/2 cup mayo (I’m obliged to specify Duke’s)
2 tbsp finely brunoise chopped cornichon or pickle of choice
2 tbsp brunoise onion rinsed in hot water (mellows out raw onion flavor)
1tbsp chopped chives
1tbsp chopped dill
Good salt/pepper to taste
1 tsp Georgian spice mix or paprika/spice mix of choice or garlic powder
(I used Georgian spice mix because it’s what I had lying around)
Fresh juice of 2 lemons
optional: caviar or roe of choice
Steps: Put cooked crab in a mixing bowl, add mayo, then onion, cornichon, herbs then season with the rest. Squeeze lemons above bowl (hold a sieve to catch seeds) and mix till uniform. Salt/pepper to taste. Serve cold! Spoon into toasted bread rolls or cracker of choice.
Wine pairing suggestions: Considering there’s light protein, richness and herbs like dill plus salty umami from caviar, I would go for a full-ish bodied white wine that has good acidity and aromatics. The Incrocio Bruni we enjoyed is the result of an old crossing of Verdicchio and Sauvignon. I found this a fascinating medley of peachy aromatics and dusty minerality. You could also go with an Italian-made Sauvignon Blanc from Northern Italy (I love Venica‘s expressions from the Collio DOC in Fruili-Venezia Giulia). When in doubt, bubbles from Trento DOC (I’m obsessed) or a trebbiano spumante from Cupelli in San Miniato.
I also have been playing around with TikTok and made a video of the crab rolls. I don’t know how the hell this platform works, I refused to use the suggested cheesy bad music but rather jams I actually like/listen to. Please comment if you have tips!
The first picture was with deviled eggs I know have nothing to do with crab. But as you can imagine having a lot of mayo on hand, we made some deviled eggs and put more eggs on it. Triple egg threat you could say! Worth it- even if my current diet consists of sadness, kombucha and salads.
In your crabby emotional support trust,