Good Eating: Italian Favorites

Crab Salad with Seaweed and Cucumbers
Guastavino Restaurant -- Chef Daniel Orr
(Makes 6 appetizer servings)

12 ounces jumbo crabmeat, cleaned well
¾ cup crème fraiche dressing (see recipe)
1/3 cup Hijiki seaweed, soaked until tender (available in Japanese markets)
2 Cups julienne cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno
1 Tablespoon tarragon- roughly chopped
2 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

Toss ingredients together and season to tastes with salt, pepper and lemon.
Press gently into a ring mold (or a tuna fish can you have cup both top and bottom off of.) Place salad in the center of a plate and garnish as desired with edible flowers, colorful oil, decorative salad leaves and herbs.

Crème Fraiche and Curry Dressing
(for dip or dressing for seafood, chicken or vegetables)
(makes 3 cups)

2 cups crème fraiche, whipped until stiff
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons curry
Juice of 3 lemons
Salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste

Fold together crème fraiche, mayonnaise, ginger, garlic, and honey. Set aside in a cold place. Mix turmeric, curry and lemon juice and allow to bloom 10 minutes, then mix with creamy ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and Tabasco.
Note: Good as a dip or thinned out as a dressing. For crab salad or seafood salad, toss with julienne cucumbers, seaweed, salt, pepper, lemon and jalapeno. Serve with spiced red pepper coulis.

Grilled Octopus
Fiamma Restaurant -- Michael White, Executive Chef

Octopus Ingredients:
6 8-ounce octopus
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine bread cubes, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until crispy on the outside by soft on the inside. Set aside to cool.

Salad Ingredients:
6 Roma tomatoes, cut into bite size chunks
2 hothouse cucumbers, seeds removed, cut into chunks
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly and washed in water
2 bunches of basil, torn

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
10 ounces extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl. Taste for seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Let rest for one hour. Taste for seasoning before service.