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Chili-Lime Crab Salad with Tomato and Avocado and where to go to Cooking School in Paris

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A perfect way to beat the heat…

Today’s recipe requires no cooking at all, takes under 30 minutes to get on the table and the taste?  Lime makes this the most refreshing of dishes.  You can serve this tonight which is likely to be one of those nights when the heat practically begs you to eat light. There are those who believe red onion must be cooked before it is used. You can get around this rule by soaking the diced onion in cold water for 15 minutes. This will greatly reduce any harsh onion flavor.  Even if it won’t pass Chef Conant’s sniff test.  So here it is, Chili-Lime Crab Salad with Tomato and Avocado.

About that Cooking School in Paris…

When I was in Paris on a business trip and we had a little time off, I went to the Atelier des Chefs cooking school for a lesson.  There are actually six locations around the city where you can take a class that lasts anywhere from an hour to 3 hours.  I chose to go to the Flagship school itself on Rue Penthievre which is right behind the Place de la Madelaine.  It was a great class, all in French, and all female with one glaring exception…L’homme Americain.  I  had the good fortune to have been born in Montreal where you learn French from a very early age and it’s stood me in good stead all these years.  So I was very at home at the school.  Included among the students was a beautiful young girl and her equally elegant “Grandmere”.   Apparently, it was the “Grandmere” who had received the classes as a Christmas gift and not, as I’d imagined, the pretty young bride!  I guess you really are never too old to learn.  

I was told they had sessions in English and in fact, I was asked by my instructor if I’d help her with some phrases for a class she was giving that night.  But on their website, https://www.atelierdeschefs.fr I can’t find any references to them. But if you are familiar with what used to be called “Montreal Kitchen French”, you’ll get along just fine.  It’s all about watching and mimicking which doesn’t exactly require a LaRousse to do.   This is all a very roundabout way of getting to my purchase from their kitchen shop.   There was sale on stainless steel rings, the ones that make perfect rounds on the plate and make everything look remarkably professional.  Needless to say, I had to immediately buy 6 of them.  When I got home to Bridgehampton, they went into a drawer and hadn’t emerged ever until I found the perfect way to use them…in this wonderful salad!  And if you happen to be without your Matfer Bourgeat rings, you can still make it.

Let’s face it, in the heat, there is no such thing as too many salad recipes.  

And while I have had many Crab salads over the years, this recipe really turns up the volume with its moderately spicy, citrus-y dressing.  And what’s more perfect than ripe tomatoes and perfect avocados in August ?   It’s from Food and Wine’s Sue Zemanick.  It requires no heat, takes no time to make so you can have it on the plates in under 30 minutes. Here’s the recipe:

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