Jumbo Lump Crab Meat and Avocado Salad With Creole Tomatoes and Fried Plantains

Serves 4 to 6. Recipe is by Rio Mar/Little Gem Saloon, New Orleans

For the dressing:

1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled and diced

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 ozs. extra virgin olive oil

For the tomatoes:

2 large Creole tomatoes, cut into 1?8-inch slices

1 tbl. smoked sweet paprika

1 tbl. finely minced garlic

2 tbls. chiffonade of parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 ozs. sherry vinegar

3 ozs. extra virgin olive oil

For the avocado and crab salad:

1 Hass avocado, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed, roughly chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, chopped in a fine dice

1?3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

2 tbls. finely diced red bell pepper

1 tsp. each salt and pepper to taste

1 tbl. ground, toasted cumin

1 lb. jumbo lump Gulf crab meat, picked over

1 to 2 ozs. tequila (optional)

Fried plantain strips for garnish (see note)

Crumbled Cotija or queso fresco cheese for garnish (see note)

1. Make the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.

2. Prepare the tomatoes: Lay the tomato slices on a sheet pan or on a large platter. In this order scatter or drizzle the following evenly over the tomatoes: paprika, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, vinegar and olive oil. Set aside to marinate while you make the avocado salad.

4. Make the avocado salad: In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients except the crab meat, tequila and garnish. Add the reserved dressing and toss carefully with your hands

5. Gently fold in the crab meat, taking care not to break up the lumps.

6. Add one ounce of tequila to the salad and toss carefully. Taste. You should get a faint taste of tequila. Add more if desired.

7. To serve: Lay a few slices of tomato to make a base on the plate, spoon the avocado salad on top, garnish with plantain chips and crumbled Cotija or queso fresco cheese.

Note: The plantains and cheeses are available in the Latin section of most supermarkets.