‘Tis The Season For Radishes And Shellfish

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The crisp, crunchy, sweet spring radishes at the local farmer’s market were just so beautiful that I was motivated to immediately make a salad with avocado and cubed, artisanal sheep milk cheese. I added a slice of whole grain toast to complete my lunch.

To my delight, chef Eric Miller of Bay Kitchen Bar restaurant in East Hampton recently assured me he would be serving soft shell crab throughout the summer. I was thrilled, as I am always sure to order crab when it’s on the menu. Not long ago, I ate crab at B.K.B.’s Manhattan location on a bed of citrus-dressed slaw with a dollop of pink aioli and basil-infused oil. I was so impressed and inspired that I re-created this recipe.

Bon appétit!

Spring Radish And Avocado Salad With Sheep Milk Cheese(Serves 4)2 bunches assorted fresh radishes, with leaves, washed

1 large, firm avocado

Lemon juice, for drizzling

4 thin slices red onion

5 ounces sheep milk, Gruyere-style cheese, cubed

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Fig-infused white balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Flaked sea salt, to tasteTo prepare:Remove radish leaves, discarding any that are yellow or blemished.

Wash radishes and leaves in cold water.

Spin dry.

Wash and trim off stems and tails.

Cut radishes into thin slices.

Cut avocado in half.

Remove pit.

Cut into uniform slices.

Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

Mound a handful of radish leaves in the center of salad plates.

Scatter sliced radishes and red onion around the greens.

Fan avocado slices out and place on one side of the plate.

Scatter cubed cheese on top.

Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the entire salad.

Season to taste.

Serve at once.Cornmeal-Dusted Soft-Shell CrabsInspired by chef Eric Miller of Bay Kitchen Bar restaurant, East Hampton/Manhattan(Serves 4)4 large soft-shell crabs, cleaned

1½ cups low fat milk

1/2 cup corn meal

1/4 cup Wondra flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons safflower oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup Cognac, for flaming

Parsley sprigs, for garnish

Aioli sauce:

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon paprika, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to tasteTo prepare:Mince garlic with salt, until it forms a paste.

Transfer to a bowl.

Whisk mayonnaise and lemon juice together.

Slowly add oil, beating until smooth.

Add paprika and pepper.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Refrigerate aioli until serving time.

Pour milk into a shallow dish, or pie plate, large enough to hold the crabs in one layer.

Put crabs in the dish.

Let crabs soak for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Drain and discard the milk.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, salt, paprika and pepper together in a bowl, until blended.

Roll each crab in the seasoned cornmeal.

Shake off the excess.

Add oil and butter to a skillet over moderate-high heat.

Sauté the crabs in batches, when the foam subsides, until golden on both sides, about 8 to 9 minutes.

Immediately transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Keep warm.

Pour excess butter/oil out of pan.

Set pan back over the heat.

Add Cognac.

Ignite, to burn off alcohol.

Cook, until reduced to a glaze.

Swirl the glaze in the center of four plates with a spoon.

Set the crab on top, partially covering the glaze.

Add a dollop of garlic aioli.

Garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Serve at once.

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