Lately I’ve been nostalgic for my life in Spain — for the people, the places, and the slowness of life. It’s been four years since I last visited and it feels like an eternity. It’s horribly sad, but I can’t even remember the name of my favorite cafe. The place where I went every morning for two years for a cortado and toast (whole wheat with tomatoes, oil, and salt if I was being healthy and white with whipped butter if I was not). It was like the Starbucks of Cordoba and for some reason going there always felt like going home.
When I miss something, I like to make food that takes me back to that time. One of the things that I made a lot in Cordoba was crab toast. It’s sort of a funny thing to make considering that Cordoba is the only place I’ve ever lived that’s completely and totally landlocked with the nearest ocean hours away. The nearby seas aren’t even really home to the type of crab I grew up with, but what Spain is good at, and internationally known for, is canned seafood.
The Mercadona (my favorite grocery store — phew, I still remember its name!) was a longer walk from my house than the market that was down the street, but whenever I did my grocery shopping there, I would always get a little tin of this amazing crab. Then, I would make the most delicious crab toasts with red pepper and grana padano cheese, which at the time I thought was Spain’s parmesan. I’ve since learned that it is a whole different cheese. So now in my sentimental state, I’ve started making crab toasts again.
I probably have the original list of ingredients someplace filed away in my first recipe folder, but this is the variation I’ve been enjoying recently. I used fresh crab, but canned crab will do just fine — Costco makes a great tin of crab, go ahead and use that!
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely dice red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely diced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
1 cup crab meat
1 heaping teaspoon mayonnaise
1/2 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup (packed) finely grated grana padano cheese
1 heaping tablespoon finely grated Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Old Bay
Pam or other cooking spray
2 thick slices of sour dough bread or half of a small sourdough loaf, extra bread removed and discarded
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the red pepper, shallot, and garlic and sauté slowly for 5 minutes. Be sure not to burn the garlic or shallot; you simply want to mellow the flavors. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Place the parsley, mayonnaise, mustard, crab meat, cheese, and cooked vegetable mixture in to a medium bowl. Use a fork to gently fold all of the ingredients together. The mayonnaise and mustard should lightly coat the crab and vegetables. It should not be wet or gloppy like a crab salad, but lightly seasoned and moist. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and 1/8 teaspoon Old Bay.
- Place a sheet of foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet. Lightly spray with Pam. Set the two bread slices in the middle of the foil. Top with heaping spoonfuls of the crab mixture. Bake in the middle of the oven until the bread is toasted, the cheese is melted and the crab is warmed through, about minutes. Enjoy immediately.
Makes 2 pieces of toast.