February 8, 2010
Crab and mango salad
On Saturday night we were having dinner guests. Our first dinner guests since we moved into our new apartment back in December. I hate to think we have been here for over 6 weeks and we haven't entertained......then again who am I kidding, days have been running into weeks without me knowing!
When we first moved to Sydney the lovely Nerida took us under her wing; she fed us beautiful dinners at her home, let the boys play with her sons 'transformers' collection for hours on end, she let us borrow chairs so we didn't have to sit on the floor while we were waiting for our furniture to arrive, etc, etc. We were always wanting to invite Nerida around for dinner but a year passed and it still hadn't happened so when Nic told me we were having dinner guests I was delighted to finally have Nerida come to our house.
As you can imagine, I felt I needed to make something delicious, exciting and worth waiting for!
In my mind I had a feast planned however in reality I had just finished a big week. I had to get up and start work at 4.20am on the Friday morning, followed that afternoon with a phone call from Alex's school saying he had a temperature, thus ended up staying up half the night to keep him settled, went to the cafe at 6am the next morning to open for breakfast......yep, the last thing I felt like doing was cooking a feast, BUT there was no way I was going to have a boring meal.
I was always thinking crab- it's summer, hot, humid and what better way to start an evening sucking on a crab claw while drinking a cool glass of vino bianco. Thanks to Brett's wonderful idea of taking home some pre-prepared, slow cooked lamb shank and pesto parcels we had at the cafe for the main meal all I had left to do was make a crab salad and dessert- no worries!
Finishing work early I drove to the fish mongers, picked up three delicious looking blue swimmer crabs then headed to the fruit and veg store to put the final touches together. I knew I desperately needed to sleep so I was thinking quick and simple on the prep front. I boiled my crabs (a sight the boys were delighted with however didn't want anything to do with when it came to trying the meat!) in a lime leaf, chili and garlic infused stock, popped them in the fridge to cool and headed for the bedroom for a quick power nap.
It still impresses me how a 30 minute power nap can stop you looking and feeling like a zombie! I was refreshed and ready to pick at my crabs- probably the hardest part of the whole dish. Anyway once the meat was all picked through I prepped some diced mango, nice and small so it complemented the crab meat. Nic picked the watercress while I made a chili, caramel and citrus dressing where by you heat up some palm sugar in a saucepan until it starts to bubble and go sticky (on a very low heat). Once liquified you add freshly squeezed orange juice and stir over a low flame until sauce is all smooth. Add a couple splashes of fish sauce, chopped Thai chili (green) and then once cooled add chopped coriander (cilantro). It is a flavour sensation and will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.
Ok so all the prep is done, boys have eaten early (thought they were lucky having noodles and chicken rather than crab) and I was feeling almost a million dollars. It was a great night, the salad was the perfect way to start the meal and the best part was I got to sleep in on Sunday morning.....