Holts Café Vancouver’s Dungeness Crab Tart

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Dungeness crab is a perfect example of a sustainable local product. I wanted to keep it in an unadulterated form, showcasing the natural sweet flavour of the food. By presenting it in a tart, we are able to build different taste profiles around the crab to highlight this.

Yield: Four portions.
Level of difficulty: medium.
Time: 30 minutes.

Crab Salad

1/2 pound Dungeness crab meat, picked, no shells
½ white onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced small
1 celery stalk, diced small
1 lemon’s juice and zest
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
~15 inches puff pastry

In a small-size frying pan, add the vegetable oil and onions.
Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, while constantly stirring.
Once cooked, add onions into a large mixing bowl.
Add remaining ingredients into the bowl with the onions, and stir to combine. Set aside in the fridge.

Braised Leek

1 leek, whites only, finely sliced into coins
1/3 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon white sugar
½ teaspoon thyme leaves, picked from stem

Add all ingredients into a pot and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
Remove half the leeks and puree until smooth.
Cool over ice.

Tomato Marmalade

½ red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, picked from stem
2 Roma tomatoes, diced small

In a medium sauce pot, add the vegetable oil and diced onion and cook until translucent.
Add the vinegar, sugar, and thyme into the pot and reduce by three quarters, until the liquid becomes slightly syrupy.
Add the diced tomatoes and cook for one minute.
Strain the mix into a bowl. Add the liquid back into the pot and re-reduce again until syrupy.
Fold the tomatoes back into the syrup and cool.

Cumin Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, ground and toasted
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, ground and toasted
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons honey
30 millilitres sherry vinegar
50 millilitres olive oil

Add all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.


Within a two-inch ring mold, place a tablespoon of tomato marmalade on the plate. Flatten with the back of a spoon.
On top of the marmalade, add a tablespoon of braised leeks. Flatten with the back of a spoon.
Remove the ring mold.
Cut a three-inch disk of puff pastry and brush with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and whole cumin seeds, and bake until golden brown.
Add crab salad mix to the top of the puff pastry disk.
Place puff pastry on top of the tomato leek tower.
In a small mixing bowl, combine micro basil, shaved fennel, and apples. Dress salad with vinaigrette.
Place salad on top of crab disk.
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UPDATE, June 2018: Holts Café is now Colette Grand Café.

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Post Date:

May 22, 2017