• Recipe of Gazpacho Salsa

    Now we’ll move on to what is the most time consuming part of this dish and that is prepping the gazpacho salsa. Like many things that take time in cooking this one takes time because of the chopping involved. If you’re good with your knife then you’ll cruise through this. If you are not, then, well, hang in there and get some experience.

    The one thing I don’t like about this recipe is that to make this salsa you need a little bit of a lot of things. You’ll use just a little of the jalapeno, a bit of the onion, some of the cucumber, and so on. Save all the leftovers and just cut those up in whatever size you want with whatever mix is left over. Mix it together, throw some olive oil, salt, and pepper on it and you’ll have yourself the kitchen staff’s version of gazpacho salsa for leftovers.

    Refer back to the recipe at the top for quantities, but I went ahead and separated all the ingredients and took a photo of it so you could see how large or small I cut the pieces. In a gazpacho like this you are going to want to cut things into a pretty small dice because this sits as a small package on top of the tower. You want all the flavors to come together and for it to look easy to get on your fork. There should be no stabbing involved in eating this dish.

    Once all the vegetables and herbs are chopped, mix them together in a bowl along with the sherry vinegar (yellow bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, celery, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, pepper, olive oil.) Set it aside so it can start to marinate and marry its flavors together.

    Avocado Salsa

    The final prep step is to make the avocado salsa. This component will form the base of the tower.

    Simply make cuts in the 90 direction on top of the long direction and you’ll be able to spoon out already diced avocado. Note that the distance between the cuts will define how chunky the avocado salsa is. You don’t want it to be too chunky because you want it to fill the bottom of the form. But if you cut it up too fine you will lose the visual appeal and it will be more of mash similar to guacamole. Take a look at the pictures below and you’ll get the idea.

    Spoon out the diced avocado into a medium bowl. Mix it with the ground coriander, salt, pepper, and lime juice. The lime juice is acidic and will help maintain the nice green color of the avocado. Otherwise when avocado is exposed to air it will eventually turn brown, much like an apple.The Final Assembly

    In the final assembly we need a form that is the right diameter. I have a selection of biscuit cutters and chose one that is about 3″ in diameter. As a kid growing up in northeastern Colorado, I saw some grain storage silos being built with concrete. They started at the ground with a circular form that was nowhere near the height of the eventual silo. They poured it full of concrete and as the concrete set up they constantly moved the form higher, pouring more concrete as they went. Building the crab tower is similar.

    Spoon in about 1/3 of a cup of the avocado salsa inside the form onto the bottom of the serving plate. Use the back of a spoon to lightly tamp down the avocado so that it fills in the form and creates a level surface for the next layer. Plastic spoons work better for this purpose.

    Carefully lift the form straight up, but not off of the avocado salsa layer. You may need to hold the form in place while you spoon 1/3 of a cup of the crab salad mixture on top of the avocado salsa. Again, use the back of a spoon to lightly tamp the crab salad in place and form a level surface for the next layer. (Of course I forgot to take a picture of this step.

    Continue by lifting the form up further, if you need to, in order to spoon 1/3 of a cup of the gazpacho salsa on top of the crab salad. You may want to lightly reposition some of the salsa so that it’s even, but there is no need to tamp this layer down. In fact you want it to look “fluffy” and light.

    Completely remove the form now and you will have the crab tower and it’s now ready for garnish. America’s Test Kitchen garnished this dish with some frisee lettuce dressed with some of the remaining vinaigrette that you made in the first steps. My store wasn’t carrying frisee at the time and I chose to use pea sprouts instead with, I think, great results.