- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2003

This is the season for friends to make detours to our house. Some are traveling through the area, looking at colleges with their high school juniors and seniors.

Others are passing through on their way to the Berkshires, to Cape Cod or to Maine. We feel pretty popular at this time of the year and find ourselves entertaining often.

Frequently our guests stay only a short time for no more than lunch or a light supper. For such occasions, I’ve accumulated a collection of recipes that don’t require a lot of time in the kitchen and that can be partially prepared ahead.

Soups, salads and sandwiches are my favorite choices. Winners include chilled cucumber soup garnished with fresh snipped dill and gazpacho fashioned with garden vegetables, as well as salads assembled with seasonal greens.

There are countless sandwich possibilities. I’ve served BLTs made with heirloom tomatoes and basil-scented mayonnaise, offered wraps stuffed with grilled chicken slathered with plum sauce and plated po’ boys layered with corned beef and homemade cole slaw.

This year I’m going to include crab and pistachio salad sandwiches. Tender, sweet, fresh crab meat and crunchy chopped pistachios are paired with diced celery, chopped parsley and splashes of both orange and lemon juice and bound with a purchased mayonnaise. A hint of cayenne pepper adds piquancy.

The seafood salad can be prepared several hours in advance, then at serving time quickly mounded on slices of toasted sandwich bread along with some Boston lettuce for crunch. These refreshing creations make a perfect light lunch or supper entree to serve summertime visitors.

Crab and pistachio salad sandwiches

1 pound fresh crab meat, picked over

cup finely diced celery

6 tablespoons regular or reduced-fat (not nonfat) mayonnaise

cup coarsely chopped unsalted roasted pistachios (see Note)

cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

4 teaspoons fresh orange juice

teaspoon grated lemon zest

teaspoon grated orange zest

Salt

Cayenne pepper

12 slices best-quality white bread (such as Pepperidge Farm), lightly toasted

6 Boston lettuce leaves, optional

In a medium nonreactive bowl, combine crab, celery, mayonnaise, pistachios, parsley, lemon and orange juices, lemon and orange zests, teaspoon salt and a small pinch of cayenne. Taste and season with more salt, if needed. (The salad can be prepared 4 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Spread a slice of bread generously with crab salad and top with a lettuce leaf, if desired. Cover with a bread slice. Repeat to make 5 more sandwiches. Makes 6 servings.

Note: Shelled roasted pistachios are available in specialty groceries and some supermarkets. If you can’t find shelled pistachios, buy roasted pistachios in their shells and shell them. It will not take long since you only need a small amount for this recipe.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES INTERNATIONAL

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