A few years ago a friend of mine was visiting from England. He’s a dedicated foodie. It was winter and crab season had just opened, so what better I thought. Then I decided I would, for his first night in, serve him a quintessential California meal. We had fresh caught that day, Sonoma county cracked Dungeness crab, a salad of our glorious wintertime Hass avocados and sweet, succulent, juicy Navel oranges, San Francisco sourdough baguette and a bottle of a crisp, fruity but not sweet Chinon Blanc.
When he had finished he pushed back from the table, wiped his mouth on his napkin and said, “Well, … I guess I’d better just go out and hang myself because there is nothing left in life to look forward to.”
I am not a big fan of winter. Being a spoiled fifth generation California brat. I consider it cruel and unusual punishment when the thermometer dips below 70°. However, California has three things that make winter tolerable, dare I say it, even looked forward to:
The Hass avocado, at its best in winter; sweet, succulent, fat, juicy and juicy Navel oranges , and crab. Not just any ol’ crab, but our superlative fresh, fresh, fresh Dungeness crab only hours from his icy bed in the sea. I have eaten crab the world around and now mind, I have never met a crab that I would ask to leave my kitchen, but none can compare to our own Dungeness. I would in fact, rather have Dungeness crab than lobster. To me the meat is sweeter and more tender.
So, now that we have found these three wonders, what’s the best way to enjoy them? Each is absolutely delectable on its own but combined in this salad, well … you be the judge:
Holey Trinity Salad
serves 4 to 6
This delicious salad utilizes The Holy Trinity, Hass avocados, seedless Navel oranges and incomparable fresh, local Dungeness crab. Accompany it with a fresh sourdough baguette and a bottle of a crisp California wine and life is good.
2 tablespoons Sweet and Hot Brown Mustard
½ cup Mayonnaise or commercial
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup cider vinegar
½ pound crab meat
2 avocados, diced
2 sweet Navel oranges, peeled and cut into rings and the rings cut into quarters
1 medium size sweet purple onion, half diced and half cut into thin rings
About a tablespoon minced fresh dill weed
Salt and fresh coarse ground black pepper to taste
Crisp fresh butter or Romaine lettuce
Put the first six ingredients into a bowl and whisk well. Add the next five ingredients and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill. When ready to serve, line a serving dish with lettuce and pile the salad in the center. Garnish with several slices of orange and avocado and sprigs of fresh dill weed.
Suggested wines to serve with The Holy Trinith Salad:
Dry Creek Vineyard – 2010 Dry Chenin Blani
Sunce Winery – 2010 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley – Poole Vineyard
Taft Street Winery– 2008 Mendocino County Gewurztraminer