Seafood Fridays – Crab Salad

Crab is something I enjoy, but don’t get to have very often.

That’s because I live in Chicago, where we have a lot of Coho salmon, smelt and lake perch, but not a lot of fresh crab.

In the Spring, I look forward to soft shell crabs, which are blue crabs that have shed their outer shell and have not yet formed new hard exterior shells, making them about 95 percent edible and 100 percent delicious. They are only available for a brief period, which makes them even more of a special treat.

At one of the casinos where I worked, we used to get several 1,000 pound pallets of frozen king crab legs for crab leg night each Friday.

And when I’m in Florida, of course I love blue crab and stone crab claws, which are abundant there.

For Chicagoans, however, crab is not something we get very often. So I was surprised when I saw fresh Dungeness crab claw meat at one of the local produce marts. Dungeness crab usually comes from the West Coast. I quickly snatched it up and started planning some special way of preparing it.

Crab cakes would be the obvious route, but I made those not too long ago and wanted to try something different.

That’s when I came across this recipe for Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad. Besides crab, it also features mango, which are in season and super inexpensive right now.

Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad

For the Sauce

1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive OIl

1 ripe Mango, peeled, pitted and diced

1/4 cup Water

1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the Salad

1 lb Crab Claw meat, picked through to remove small peices of shell or cartilage

Juice of 1 Lime


1 TBS Fresh Parsley, chopped

2 twp Fresh Mint, chopped

1 TBS Shallot, minced

1 ripe Mango, peeled, pitted and diced

1 ripe Avocado, pitted, peeled and diced

Tabasco Sauce

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Ruby Red Grapefruit, cut into supremes (for garnish)

1. To make the sauce, put a small saucepan over a medium heat. When hot, add the EVOO. When oil is hot, add the mango and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook down the mango until it is soft, about 3 minutes. In a measuring cup, combine the water and the lemon jucie, then add the liquid to the pot. Bring to a boil, then turn off. Transfer to blender and puree until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

2. The salad is actually two salads. The first is the crab salad. In a mixing bowl, combine the crab, 2 tsp of the parsley, 1 tsp of the mint, shallot, the juice of 1/2 a lime, 2 TBS of EVOO, and 10 drops of Tabasco sauce. Toss together, season with salt and pepper to taste, then cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

3. The second salad is a mango salsa. In a mixing bowl, combine the mangos, avocado, 1 TBS EVEOO, the juice of the other half lime, the remaining parsley and mint, 10 drops of Tabasco, and a little S&P. Toss carefully so you don’t mash the diced avocado. Cover with plastic and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

4. To plate, drizzle the sauce on the bottom of a chilled salad plate then use a tablespoon to make a pile of the avocado salsa. Then use a separate clean tablespoon to make a pile of the crab salad on top of the salsa. Finally, arrange the grapefruit segments around the salad for garnish.

While the whole dish was a smash hit, I was particularly impressed with the mango sauce. It was sweet and smooth. I’m freezing the leftover sauce right now because I think it would make a good homemade mango sorbet. I will let you know how it turns out.