When I promised you the epic dinner I forgot that we were having friends for dinner last night. They aren't veggies so I didn't want to scare them too badly; I like them and I want them to come back. So I made THIS meal, which was pretty darn good if I do say so myself.
Now, as the title states, you can have it vegan or not. We have an abundance of crab in our refrigerator right now and I know they like crab so I made a little salad for the crab to rest on (I made mine vegan). I paired the salad with some totally amazing flatbread... It was so good I want to make it every day with every topping under the sun and then I want to eat it all day long. I am a carb hoe afterall; and it was really good.
So, for now, enjoy this fantastic meal (epic in its own right, as all things are...) and I will make my long awaited meal tonight and hopefully it will turn out as I see it in my mind's eye. If not, it probably won't be epic and you will probably be disappointed. But let's keep our spirits high!
1/2 cup daikon, cut into matchsticks and pickled (you're going to pickle it... see below)
1 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons warm water
2 mangoes, sliced into matchstick 'like' chunks
1 container cherry tomatoes (red or, if you can find them, heirloom would be fab)
12 basil leaves
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
Fresh ground pepper
Freshly cracked crab (IF you're going non vegan)
Slice your daikon into matchstick pieces and put in a bowl. Add sea salt and combine to coat well. Let sit for 30 minutes.
In another smaller bowl, combine sugar, vinegar and warm water. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then pour over daikon. Give it a good mix and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
While daikon is pickling, cut up your mango. For best results, because lets face it, it sucks cutting mangoes...cut the 'fatty' sides off the mango rind. Slice each piece, on the rind, creating fairly thin strips. Make a slice down the middle the opposite way then flip the meat outward and the skin inward. Then behold your really pretty mango art!
From there, just slice the pieces out in layers, making matchsticks OR you can cut all the meat out and then cut the big chunks down on the cutting board... your choice. It's not an exact science which is why I call for matchstick 'like' pieces; I like a little asymmetry.
Put the mango pieces in a bowl, then slice your washed cherry tomatoes in half and allow them to join your mango.
Gather your basil leaves, stack four or five at a time on top of each other, roll them up and slice them horizontally, voila... perfectly julienned basil! Add them to your mango tomato mix.
After your daikon has marinated for at least 30 minutes, scoop it out and put just the daikon (not the marinate) in with the mango mix and combine so the marinade that does come with the daikon gets sufficiently spread around.
Pour about 1/4 cup of the marinade into a shakeable container. To that, add the Sesame oil andfresh ground pepper. Cover the container and give it a good shake.
Meanwhile, gather your arugula and put it in a bowl for tossing. When your dressing is adequately shaken, pour a little (a little, people) on the arugula. Please don't drown the arugula... you can always add more later!Give it a good toss and then prepare to plate.
On a plate, place some tossed arugula artfully in the center. On top of the arugula, gather your mango daikon mix and artfully pile it on top of the arugula, ensuring you have good representation from all members of the salad.
If you are going vegan, add some fresh ground pepper to the top and you are ready to serve.
If you are going pescetarian, gather a healthy pile of crab meat and nestle that on top of your mango daikon. I like to do the 'loose' meat first, then top with some whole legs so it looks a little prettier.
That's it, you're ready to serve!