Chew on This

Building a dish from the bottom up

July 8th, 2016

The dish is called Soft Shell Crab Taco, but really it's chef David Lukela's take on shrimp and grits, minus the shrimp, adding crab, minus a taco shell but adding some taco-ness. And mango-ness.

The dish is among mango-centric dishes and drinks on the menu in July — Mango Month — at Beachhouse at the Moana, where Lukela is chef de cuisine. The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa is also prepping for Mangoes at the Moana, a festival of all things mango on July 16.

As a preview, Lukela built his "taco" dish and explained why all the components work.

Photos by Bruce Asato, Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Photos by Bruce Asato, Honolulu Star-Advertiser

At the bottom, cheesy grits, because he loves them so.

Layer 2

Layer 2

Next: Two deep-fried soft-shell crabs, a stand-in for the usual shrimp, with a crunchiness that stands in for a taco shell.

layer 3

Layer 3

Next: A drizzle of mango fraiche — mango puree stirred into creme fraiche — to add creamy richness.

laeyer 4

Layer 4

Next: Pickled fresh mango cubes (he uses a simple mix of vinegar, sugar and water) and avocado. The pickling adds acidity to balance the mango's sweetness, the avocado adds "good fat" to balance the acidity.

layer 5

Layer 5

Next: Cabbage and green onion, shredded, for a taco touch.

layer 6

Layer 6

Finally: Cilantro and thin slices of watermelon radish — more "taco elements."

See Crave on Wednesday for more from the Moana and Lukela's ideas on using mangoes in savory dishes.


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