Soft-Shell Crabs with Farro Salad
- SERVINGS: 4
- 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- 2 fresh hot red chiles, seeded and minced
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons thick coconut cream, spooned from the top of a chilled can of unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 jumbo soft-shell crabs (about 3 ounces each)
- 1 cup farro
- 1/2 cucumber—peeled, seeded and finely diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 Hass avocado, finely diced
- 6 slices smoked bacon
- 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Four 1 1/2-inch-thick slices red or yellow watermelon, peeled
- Turbinado or granulated brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- In a small saucepan, boil the pineapple juice until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the chiles, 2 teaspoons of the ginger, the cilantro, coconut cream and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the crabs and refrigerate.
- In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the farro until just tender, about 15 minutes; drain. Transfer the farro to a large bowl and add the cucumber, bell pepper and avocado.
- In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until lightly crisp. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Cut the bacon into thin strips and add it to the farro. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons of ginger and the basil and season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the farro and toss.
- Heat the reserved bacon fat in the skillet until almost smoking. Coat the watermelon with turbinado sugar. Add the butter to the skillet, then add the watermelon and cook over high heat until well browned, about 2 minutes per side.
- In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over moderately high heat. Remove the crabs from the marinade and season with salt and pepper; sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Spoon the salad onto plates, set the crabs on top and garnish with the caramelized watermelon. Serve at once.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.