Although the inspiration for this dish came from our latest dinner at the Librije, this is not an attempt to recreate the dish from the restaurant. It is a ‘taco’ of kohlrabi stuffed with foie gras and crab dressed with lime-infused olive oil, served with a bisque of the crab. The samphire is added mostly for color and to hold together the taco. Although there is some effort in cleaning the crab and slicing the kohlrabi very thinly, this is an impressive dish that is great for a special occasion or the holidays, as there is not much that can go wrong. Do start on time though, because the foie gras will need some to firm up in the refrigerator after cooking it.
Sous vide is not just used to cook the foie gras and kohlrabi, but also to speed up the infusion of lime zest into olive oil. Sous vide speeds up infusions tremendously compared to infusing at room temperature.
For 4 servings (of 2 tacos each)
300 grams (.66 lb) crab claws
120 grams (4 oz) raw foie gras
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp high quality extra virgin olive oil
chopped onion, carrot, celery, leeks
1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot
samphire (optional, for garnish)
Clean the lime with hot water and dry it with a paper towel. Zest the lime, green part only.
Vacuum seal 2 tablespoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil with the lime zest. If you don’t have a chamber vacuum sealer, you can also use a mason jar or similar vessel, or use a ziploc bag and the water displacement method.
Vacuum seal 120 grams of foie gras.
Cook the foie gras and the olive oil with lime zest sous vide for 90 minutes at 57C/135F.
When the foie gras has been cooked, pour the contents of the bag into a blender. Make sure to include all of the fat.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of table salt and blend the foie gras until smooth. Allow to firm up in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Clean the crab claws, and place them in a pot. Cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil and boil the crab for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, take the crab claws out of the pot, and reserve the cooking water.
Allow the crab claws to cool in cold water.
Once cooled off, take the crab meat out of the shells. The blunt side of a chef knife is a possible tool to break the shells.
Take all of the meat out of the shells, and reserve the shells.
Check with your finger tips for any tiny shell fragments that may be left in the crab meat.
Add the crab shells to the reserved cooking water, together with chopped onion, celery, carrot, leeks, and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil and allow the stock to simmer for 1 hour.
Vacuum seal the crab meat, to make it easier to heat it up later.
Slice the kolhrabi very thinly. I used a slicing machine, but a sharp chef’s knife or a wide mandoline can also do the trick.
Use a cookie cutter with a diameter of 8 cm (3 inches) to cut nice circles out of the kohlrabi slices.
Season the kohlrabi with salt…
…and vacuum seal in stacks of 4 slices.
Cook the kohlrabi sous vide for 90 minutes at 85C/185F.
After an hour of simmering, pass the crab stock through a fine sieve into a wide low pan.
Bring the crab stock to a boil…
…and simmer over medium heat until reduced to a bisque.
Transfer the bisque to a small saucepan. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lime juice (not too much) and perhaps some salt (only after tasting it first). Thicken the bisque with a teaspoon of cornstarch or arrowroot, mixed into a slurry with a teaspoon of cold water. Add this slurry to the bisque, bring to a boil, and stir until the bisque has thickened.
Pass the lime-infused olive oil through a sieve.
Reheat the crab meat by putting the bag in the sous vide at 57C/135F for 5 minutes (or in a bowl with hot water (of about 60C/140F) for 5 minutes, but not at 85C/185F with the kohlrabi, because that would dry out the crab meat). Then drain the crab meat and combine it with the lime-infused olive oil in a bowl. Season to taste with lime juice (just a little) and salt.
Take the kohlrabi out of the bag and dry the slices with kitchen paper. Place a ‘sausage’ of foie gras on each slice of kohlrabi.
Place some crab meat on top of the foie gras.
Place the samphire in a sieve or colander and pour some boiling water over it.
Place some crab bisque in the center of each preheated plate. Close the tacos and carefully transfer two tacos to each plate, arranging them next to each other. Place the samphire on top to help keep them closed.
This is great with a full-bodied Riesling that is slightly off-dry, such as a Spätlese Trocken from Mosel in Germany. An alternative is a white Bordeaux if it has enough Sémillon next to Sauvignon and is fermented and aged in oak barriques.
An appropriate flashback for today is lentils with squid and caviar, because it was also inspired by a dish from a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars.