Chef Christopher Lee
An award-winning classically trained chef, Christopher Lee has stepped outside of his comfort zone to bring innovative flavors to St. Louis as the executive chef of some of the city’s most interesting restaurants: Café Ventana, Diablitos Cantina, Sanctuaria, Cathedral Square Brewery, and Hendricks BBQ.
Experience Lee's diverse range of talents at Diablitos Cantina or Sanctuaria.
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The Cadillac of Kitchen Tools
“The two things that I would probably never do without are my hand-forged Takeda knife from Japan and a fish spatula,” says Lee. “A fish spatula has slots and is curved, so when you pick up the fish it doesn’t catch the grease in the pan. I even use it as a whisk. It’s more versatile than specialized equipment.”
Fried Green Tomatoes with Crab and Shrimp Salad
Ingredients For the Fried Green Tomatoes
- 4 medium sized green tomatoes sliced ¼-inch thick, lightly salted and allowed to sit in a colander for 20 minutes to drain
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp paprika
- Dash of cayenne
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup parsley with stems removed
To Prepare the crab and shrimp salad
- 1 can crab meat (I use the shelf stable canned crab, I think they are 10 oz.) If you want fresh that’s great, the recipe will allow for the larger cans.
- 6 oz-precooked shrimp with the tails removed and rough chopped
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- 2 T minced fresh tarragon
- 1-2 T parsley minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dash or two of Tabasco
- Juice from ½ a lemon
- 2-4 T extra virgin olive oil (here I would not deviate from the recipe, this is to replace the traditional mayonnaise, so you want the flavor)
Method: Fried Green Tomatoes
Place the flour in a cake pan or a sheet pan with sides so you don’t make a mess. Combine the egg and buttermilk together; beat and place in a cake pan or sheet pan with sides. If you have a food processor, combine the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Place the seasoned breadcrumbs in a cake pan or sheet pan with sides.
This is a “dredging” station in a professional kitchen. With one hand place the tomato slices in the flour to coat all over. Knock off the extra flour and place the slices with the other hand in egg mixture to coat. With your wet hand remove the tomatoes to the seasoned breadcrumbs, and with your dry hand coat the tomatoes on both sides. And place them on a wire rack or a plate until you have them all finished.
Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet (I use a cast iron skillet) over medium high and add ¼ cup oil and heat until it shimmers. Gently and carefully lay a few tomatoes at a time in the oil and fry on both sides until they are golden brown. Remove the tomatoes to a plate lined with a paper towel and keep frying until the tomatoes are all cooked, adding a little oil as needed. At this point you can enjoy them as they are or forge on ahead and try them with the next recipe. Serves 4
Method: Crab and Shrimp Salad
Combine in a medium sized work bowl and allow it to sit for 15 minutes in the fridge before using. To serve lay a few slices of tomato on a serving plate and top with a portion of the crab and shrimp salad. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and enjoy. Optional: top with dry roasted peanut, rough chopped. Serves 4