In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much fun you can have (and money you can save) by cooking these dishes at home.
THIS WEEK: Peekytoe Crab Salad from Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, Ga.
This week's recipe comes to us with a recommendation from Sharon S. of Atlanta, Ga. “Our favorite chef in Atlanta is chef Michael Tuohy of Woodfire Grill. His entire menu is filled with the most wonderful items, but our favorite by far is his Peekytoe Crab Salad. The salad includes a twist of citrus (usually grapefruit or orange) and is truly refreshing.” We took your recommendation to heart Sharon and “stole” this keeper. The recipe calls for peekytoe crabs, which are Maine rock or sand crabs. Once a by-product of lobster fishing, peekytoe crabs are now a huge hit due to their pink sweet meat and delicate flavor. Curious about the odd name? Well the origin is a bit murky but this is what we found. The crab leg has a sharp point that turns inward so it's called “picked” in Maine slang. So, you get a “picked toe” crab. Toss in the Maine accent and you get “peekytoe.” Peekytoe is in big demand by chefs so it might be hard to procure some yourself. But chef Michael Tuohy recommends substituting Dungeness crab or blue crab. To really indulge, chef Tuohy recommends Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek Valley or New Zealand.
Tuohy’s career began in San Francisco at the age of 15, learning the restaurant business from the bottom up as a dishwasher, bus boy and later a line cook. Soon, he would combine his “in-the-trenches” experience with formal training as he attended the City College of San Francisco’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Operations, and Culinary Arts. While a student, Tuohy worked at the Olympic Country Club and acquired an internship at the Four Seasons Clift Hotel. Later, with chef Joyce Goldstein, Tuohy launched a casual Italian café concept called Caffe Quadro — his first experience with daily changing menus and seasonal, locally grown ingredients. In 1986, Tuohy moved to Atlanta to open Chef's Café, and in 1993 Tuohy opened Ocean Club.
In 1999, Tuohy closed his restaurants to start a restaurant consulting service. But his desire to open his dream restaurant was strong and he knew it was time. In early 2002, he signed a lease on a space that was to become Woodfire Grill. Armed with the ethos of the Slow Food movement, Tuohy’s mission is to provide dining choices for those who are concerned with the impact humans have on the land and its products. Whenever possible, only additive-free, locally grown, and small-scale produced foods are allowed in the Woodfire Grill’s kitchen.
Peekytoe Crab Salad is served at Woodfire Grill for $14. The recipe is for a serving size of six.
1782 Cheshire Bridge Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30324
Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a "Steal This Recipe" feature? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.