This award-winning restaurant’s crab-stuffed pepper dish is as exquisite as it is approachable.
Bambara is a force of the Salt Lake City restaurant scene. Behind the award-winning eatery is executive chef Nathan Powers whose dedication to seasonal, organic and sustainable ingredients and classical cooking techniques help put the New American restaurant on the map. Powers’ ever changing menu is ambitious in its variety as it is approachable. Try your hand at this crab-stuffed peppers dish, currently on the restaurant’s menu, to learn why.
Crab-Stuffed Piquillos With Saffron Aioli
1 ounce extra virgin olive oil
½ red onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1 poblano chile, small dice
1 small Fresno chile, brunoise
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 pound Jonah or Dungeness crab meat
½ bunch cilantro
Pinch of fines herbs
3 ripe Roma tomatoes, concassée
1 cup mayo
Zest and juice of 2 lemons and 1 lime
8 – 10 corn tortillas cut in thin strips and deep fried
Kosher or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Sweat the aromatics in the olive oil over medium heat, starting with the red onion, and then the red pepper and poblano, and finishing with Fresno and paprika at the end (about 4 – 5 minutes). Cool and set aside.
In a mixing bowl pick the crab meat gently to remove any stray pieces of shell. Add the sweated aromatics, cilantro, herbs, tomato concassée and mix by hand until combined.
Add the mayo, the citrus zest, and the citrus juice, and combine mixture.
Grind the fried tortillas in a food processor until they have the consistency of bread crumbs. Using this as a binding agent, combine with the crab mixture.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
½ teaspoon Spanish saffron
1 ounce white wine
2 – 3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
6 – 8 black peppercorns
2 large fresh egg yolks
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Toast the saffron threads in a dry sauce pot over medium flame to release the aromatics and deglaze with the wine. About half the liquid will evaporate. Set the reaming aside to steep.
In a large mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, kosher salt, and black peppercorns to a paste.
Add the saffron-wine infusion and the egg yolks. Continue to grind in pestle until it comes together smoothly. With a rubber spatula or scraper transfer to the paste to a small mixing bowl.
Squeeze in the lemon juice.
Whisk mixture and gently drizzle in the canola oil first followed by the olive oil while whisking the whole time. Use a few drops of lemon or warm water to adjust consistency if it gets too thick.
Add the lemon zest and adjust salt, pepper and lemon to taste.
Cover and allow flavors to come together and meld for about an hour.
20 piquillos, removed from juice or brine and patted dry
Using a pastry bag with a ¾ – 1-inch tip cut out, pipe the crab stuffing in to the peppers to about 75 percent full. Lay out single file on a wire roasting rack or cookie sheet and paint with a little olive oil and a little salt sprinkle.
Heat in hot oven, covered charcoal fire or grill, wood oven or low broiler to heat through and add just a little color/smoke to it about 5 minutes.
Smear a small pool of the saffron sauce on to warm plate. Assemble the peppers around like spokes on a bicycle. Drizzle with more sauce over the peppers and garnish with some micro herbs, premium finishing olive oil, and sliced chives.
For more information about Bambara and to make reservations, visit the restaurant’s website.