An array of herbs and spices give this crab salad from chef Michael Romano its unforgettable flavor.
Yield Serves 8
For the Dressing
2 large tomatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
5 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons cognac
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
For the Salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups peeled, chopped celery
4 large Belgian endives
2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat, picked through for shells
Freshly ground black pepper
Make the dressing: Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Halve tomatoes and squeeze, cut-side down, over strainer. Using your fingers, scoop out seeds and any remaining juices from tomato into the strainer. You should have about 1/4 cup of "tomato water" in the bowl. Discard solids.
Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, cognac, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, chives, and tarragon to bowl with "tomato water"; mix until well combined. Set aside.
Make the salad: Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add celery and cook, stirring, until celery is still crunchy but no longer raw, about 2 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt; transfer celery to a large bowl to cool.
Trim 1/4 inch from the stem of each endive. Remove large outer leaves and halve each lengthwise. Slice halves crosswise into small strips and add to bowl with celery. Separate small inner leaves of endive and reserve.
Add crabmeat and dressing to bowl with celery and endive; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; gently fold to combine. Spoon salad onto the ends of the reserved endive leaves and serve.