Kentucky Derby Time (and What’s Cookin in the Hungry Fan Kitchen)
There really is no sporting event quite like the Kentucky Derby. Steeped in deep tradition (including that of those house-sized hats you’d only otherwise see at a British Royal wedding), the Derby is certainly known for American horse racing at its best and a celebration of Bourbon and delicious southern cookin’.
The moment that the first strains of “My Old Kentucky Home” begin to bellow from the speakers at Churchill Downs and the horses first set foot onto the track for the post parade is the moment that the gravitas of this event truly hits you like a 1,000 pound thoroughbred. The history — the culture — it’s all there and it’s on parade.
Last year was one of the most memorable years in horse racing history — and certainly in my lifetime, with regards to horse racing at least. Who can forget the incredible American Pharoah, the American Thoroughbred racehorse who won the Triple Crown (and the Breeders’ Cup Classic to boot!) in 2015? In winning all four races, American Pharoah became the first horse to ever win the “Grand Slam” of American horse racing. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that it’ll be tough to top last year’s Kentucky Derby (or the entire Triple Crown for that matter), but that won’t stop me from watching!
Here’s what I’ll be cooking up to enjoy while I watch:
(LOUISIANA) CRAWFISH AND ARUGULA SALAD
Adapted from Kentucky Derby Food Recipes.
Additional note: Kentuckians enjoy the native (and what they call) crayfish. Nearby neighbor Louisiana calls the crustacean “crawfish.” Or at least so says Mr. Google.
1 cup of homemade Mayonnaise
1 tbsp creme fraiche
1/4 cup of minced chives
1/2 cup fresh horseradish (or to taste)
1 pound of Louisiana crawfish tails, boiled and brought to room temperature*
*If you cannot find crawfish, substitute in lobster.
Chervil, roughly chopped/minced
Arugula — amount depends on how you choose to serve this. I like family style so for me, it’s enough to fill the salad bowl (to then be topped off with the crawfish salad).
1 pickled, julienned small red onion**
Apple cider vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
This one’s an easy one and really refreshing.
In a bowl, combine your mayo, creme fraiche, chives, horseradish, and salt and pepper to taste). Once well mixed, carefully fold in your crawfish. Consistency-wise, you are looking for wet and creamy but by no means soupy.
Add the arugula into your serving bowl and splash with a (very little bit) of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. (You don’t want to overdress because you’re topping the lettuce with the creamy, already-dressed crawfish). Season well with a pinch of salt and a good helping of the white pepper.
Add the crawfish salad and top with your pickled onions and chervil to make it look pretty.
Serve with a chilled Mint Julep and enjoy!
**To make the onion:
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl, whisking until the sugar and salt dissolve into the vinegar.
In a jar or bowl you can seal well, combine the vinegar mixture with the onion slices and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Drain the onion is ready to go!
**Click here for more fun Kentucky Derby fun facts!**