Spring Crudo with Fresh Herbs
Crudo is a popular item on chef’s menus for spring because of its fresh flavor and versatility. Crudo, the Italian word for “raw,” refers to a dish of uncooked stuff — usually fish, shellfish, or meat — dressed in a seasoning, such as olive oil, citrus juice, and/or a vinaigrette. Top it with fresh herbs, citrus, avocado, and peppers. The possibilities and combinations are endless, and the end result is always delicious. Making it at home is a cinch. You can find some of the best fish and seafood selections on the California coast at Santa Barbara Fish Market, where I go for culinary inspiration. My weekend shopping list usually consists of anchovies (which I serve on crostini with olive oil, lemon, parsley, and a dash of red pepper flakes), thin sliced albacore tuna (for salads), mussels, clams, shrimp, and scallops (for seafood pasta). On any given Saturday at 7:30 am you might overhear a customer (sometimes a local chef) discussing ingredients and preparation with one of the fishmongers and then suddenly you’ve been inspired to try something completely new in your kitchen. Knowledgeable and friendly, the staff is always ready to offer suggestions on how to prepare and serve the fish. We recently caught up with Santa Barbara Fish Market’s Travis Riggs to get some tips and crudo recipes from his kitchen.
“Crudo is all about super fresh ingredients,” Riggs said. “Tuna, halibut, salmon, you can make a crudo with almost any ingredient as long as you have great quality fresh fish, acid, and tasty oil.” Riggs experiments with different forms of acid (juice from lemon, lime, or vinegar) or oils (olive, truffle, or avocado…) to create a balanced crudo dish.
California Ahi Crudo
1/2 pound fresh Big-eye Ahi Tuna
1 serrano chili, thinly sliced or chopped
Pistachios, roughly chopped
Cilantro, Basil, Chives finely chopped
Sicilian Albacore Crudo
1/2 pound fresh albacore tuna
Sliced black olives
Mint and parsley, thinly sliced or chopped
Dried Calabrian chilies (or dried red pepper flakes)
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1. Thinly slice fish (or ask your fishmonger to slice it for you) and arrange it on a plate.
2. Sprinkle the fish with herbs, chilies, and nuts. Finish by sprinkling on some coarse, flaky salt; add lemon and drizzle with oil.