Raviolo of Crabmeat with Shellfish Butter Sauce

I like making one big raviolo per person for a first course—or two for a main—because they are easier to keep track of while they are cooking. If you are standing there with hungry family or guests behind you and you have to shuffle sixteen to twenty ravioli into simmering water, then watch them like a hawk so they don’t burst from the water boiling too vigorously, or stick to the bottom of the pan from the water not boiling vigorously enough, you would wish you were cooking these larger ones. The big ones also hold for up to twenty minutes in warm (not hot) fish stock mixed with a little butter or olive oil.

I like wonton wrappers, the large very thin square ones, since they cook quickly, can be bought in the size you want them, and are consistent. Buy only the best quality fresh crabmeat.

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Ingredients

  • ¾ cup crabmeat, picked through for shell fragments
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh white onion juice (from pureed onion, sieved)
  • 8 wonton wrappers, 3 by 3 inches
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup shellfish essence
  • 1 medium ripe red tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
  • 6 ounces butter, cut in small pieces, kept cold
  • Salt
  • freshly ground white pepper

Method

Mix the crab, cream, and onion juice. Do not beat. Taste for salt, but it may not need any. Add salt if needed and a pinch of white pepper.

Lay out four wrappers, and put one-quarter of the crabmeat in the center of each wrapper. Moisten the edges and the crabmeat with egg, and then put another wonton wrapper on top of each one. Press down on the edges of the top wonton so that they meet the bottom one exactly and create a firm seal.

Cook the filled wontons gently in 4quarts of simmering salted water for 5 minutes or until the edges can be pinched through easily with your fingernail.

While they are cooking bring the shellfish essence to a boil. Then add the tomatoes and tarragon, turn down the heat, and while the essence is simmering, immediately whisk in the pieces of cold butter until all the butter is incorporated. The sauce must be smooth and hot, but do not let it boil again once you’ve started to add the butter. Taste the sauce for seasoning.

Lift the ravioli out of the water with a sieve/skimmer, let the sieve rest for a few seconds on a towel, then put one raviolo on each of the four hot plates, and pour the sauce over them.

Variations

For a different stuffing, use the mint-sage-rosemary pesto sauce instead of crab, and sauce them with the warm shrimp sauce or Mediterranean sauce.