Beet and Saffron Infused Whitefish Roe on a Crab Melt
I've spent my entire life on one coast or the other (with some random places in between) so my access to delicious seafood has always been pretty substantial. Despite both sides knowing how to do seafood right, there are a few sea creatures that I associate with one side as opposed to the other. I think lobster in Maine can't be beat. And clam strips from a shack at any beach in Cape Cod are transformative. I can never eat a clam strip anywhere else. It just isn't worth the energy, honestly.
But crab and dishes like cioppino are so San Francisco to me. When I hear the word cioppino I imagine the Wharf or the Ferry Building. I can see the crumbs from the toasted bread and the white linen napkin about to get splashed with tomato-y broth.
Making this crab melt gave me a quick trip back to the Bay without actually having to fly anywhere. Except I didn't use sourdough bread as suggested for the Beet and Saffron Infused Whitefish Roe Traditional Signature Bite. There are many "California" and "San Francisco" things about me, but loving sourdough isn't one of them. Crazy, I know.
Instead I used a ciabatta type roll that I cut in half. I found good quality canned crab at a local fish market (make sure you talk to your fish monger about your best options) and mixed it with some finely chopped red onion, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, some lemon juice and seafood seasoning similar to Old Bay. I used about 4oz of crab. I stirred in some mayonnaise (my favorite is Just Mayo), and scooped the crab salad on top of the bread. I topped the crab with some slices of Gruyere cheese and stuck it under the broiler until the cheese melted. Once I pulled it out I topped with Tsar Nicoulai Beet and Saffron Roe and some dill.
Beet and dill is a natural pairing to me (must be the Russian) and they garnish the delicate but flavorful crab salad so perfectly. The crunchy non-sourdough bread pulls the whole thing together. You might think the cheese with the roe could be odd but they play off each other very well. Plus melted cheese more often than not is a fabulous idea.
If you don't feel like heading to the Wharf for a crab sandwich, make this simple and delicious one at home. Just don't forget the Beet and Saffron Infused Whitefish Roe. If you must, go ahead and use sourdough bread.
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