Tomato gazpacho with crab salad
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tam West
During a trip to Tahiti, I spent a pleasant morning in Sebastien Philizot’s kitchen at Le Meridien, making gazpacho for lunch, talking food and learning a kitchen tip or two from this executive chef who has been at the hotel for 11 years. Sebastien had been judging the International Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge the previous day — how he finds the time to run weekly cooking classes in between the management of 25 chefs in the kitchens at Le Meridien Tahiti and Bora Bora I do not know, but he does it well, with a French accent and lots of charisma. He is generous with his knowledge of cooking and the local food scene.
I was heading out to the food trucks that evening and Sebastien set me right. “You like tuna? You like raw fish? Go only to the blue truck and only get one plate to share otherwise it’s too much food”. He was spot on. Sebastien matched the gazpacho with a crisp Saint Clair sauvignon blanc, proudly announcing “from Nouvelle Zelande”. This is my adapted version of his recipe.
To read more about my Tahiti food jaunt, click here.
|3 cups||Chopped tomatoes|
|1 stick||Celery, chopped|
|1||Garlic clove, crushed|
|1||Cucumber, peeled and chopped|
|200 ml||Tomato juice|
|¼ tsp||Smoked paprika|
|1 pinch||White pepper|
|3 Tbsp||Olive oil|
- Blend the tomatoes, celery, shallot, garlic, cucumber, basil leaves and tomato juice then push it through a sieve to get a smooth soup, discarding the pulp.
- Mix in the salt, smoked paprika and a pinch of white pepper and sugar, adjusting quantities to taste.
- Stir through the olive oil and chill.
For the crab salad
- Mix all ingredients together and season with salt and white pepper.
- Use a cookie cutter to place a circle of crab salad in the centre of each bowl and spoon in the gazpacho around it.
- Garnish with coriander and celery leaves and serve with large croutons — French bread sliced on the diagonal, brushed with a mix of olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika and salt and grilled.
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