6 servings



          The combination of crisp tortillas, a rich green chili-flavored sauce and slightly spicy crabmeat makes an elegant appetizer that looks as exciting as it tastes. You may vary the dish by using one or more colorful bell pepper sauces or substituting a fried chili pasta for the tortilla strips.


          4 corn or flour tortillas, cut into very thin (1/16 inch) strips

          Peanut oil for frying


          3 poblano chilies or 4 green or Anaheim chilies, roasted and peeled

          2 green bell peppers, roasted and peeled

          2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

          2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

          1 clove garlic, chopped

          1/2 cup heavy cream



          2 tablespoons unsalted butter

          2 shallots, minced

          2 serrano chilies, stemmed, seeded and minced

          1 pound Gulf crabmeat

          2 tomatoes, seeded and cut in 1/4-inch dice

          2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

          3 tablespoons vermouth


          Let the tortilla strips stand, uncovered, at room temperature for at least 1 1/2 hours to dry out before frying. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat enough peanut oil to deep-fry the tortillas to 375° F. Fry the tortillas in batches until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

          Cut the poblano, green or Anaheim chilies and bell peppers up and place them in a blender jar. Be sure to add any juices that have accumulated after roasting the peppers. Add 1 cup chicken stock, flour, garlic and blend on high speed until smooth. Pour       the pureed peppers into a medium saucepan over medium heat.   Add the remaining chicken stock and cream and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and then put it back in the same saucepan over low heat to keep warm until ready to use.

          Heat the butter to a sizzle in a large skillet. Add the shallots and serrano chilies and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the crabmeat, tomatoes, cilantro and vermouth and cook, tossing to combine the ingredients, until the crab is hot, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

          Spoon some of the sauce on each serving plate and tilt the plate to cover it with sauce. Arrange the tortilla strips on the plate at random. Mound the crab in the center.