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Appetite For Instruction: Gazpacho With Jumbo Lump Crab

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Recipe Demonstrated by Executive Chef James Johnson of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse is known for meat. Dry aged in house for 40 days and seared to sizzling perfection, you'll find their Rib Eyes, New York Strips and Filets Mignon on just about any Dallas-area carnivore's Top 10 list. But when the weather turns warm (or absolutely stifling, as it were), Executive Chef James Johnson longs for nothing so much as a cool bowl of his favorite gazpacho when he can steal a few minutes away from the heat of the kitchen.

Don't expect some brothy bore from this gourmet guy, though. His Tabasco-spiked, cumin-scented rendition of this cold tomato-based classic is a riot of intense flavors and textures.  And because he's in the business of creating luxury on a plate, he just couldn't resist topping off his creation with a final flourish of rich, sweet jumbo lump crabmeat. 

Not that we had any objections.

Step 1:  Whisk together the following ingredients in a stainless steel bowl:
2 cups tomato juice
Splash of extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1 ½ tbsp. Sherry wine vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ tsp. Tabasco
1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
(Lest you be intimidated by this soup's many components, Chef Johnson assures us "It is very easy.")

Step 2:  Stir in 2 ripe Roma tomatoes and ¼ cup each red bell pepper, green onion, cucumber and celery, all finely diced to ¼".  Cover and refrigerate soup several hours or overnight to develop flavor.

Step 3:  Fold together the following in a separate bowl, taking care not to break up the crabmeat:
4 oz. lump crabmeat (picked through for shells)
¼ tsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. lime zest
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of fresh ground pepper

Step 4:  Divide gazpacho into four serving bowls and top with crabmeat mixture. Garnish with croutons, grated hard boiled egg and chopped green or black olives.  

Sommelier Jason Hisaw suggests dialing up the fine dining volume by pairing Johnson's soup with a 2008 Rose of Malbec from Crios de Susana Balbo of Argentina.  Now that might almost make you look forward to the next heat wave.

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