Considering that I still have not found my soup pots and utensils like wooden spoons and such, my cooking possibilities are still a little hindered. Another hinderance is provided by the fact that my kitchen counters are still a bit of a “have to wait until I find everything to figure out where this goes, that goes, and pack this giveaway up together” kind of mess. There should be a book out titled “The Comedy and Joy of Moving. Not!”
Still, I figured that a salad would be doable, even though I would have to get creative around the lack of a chopping board. I refuse to buy yet another thing I already own, but have yet to find!
Crab salad had been on my mind for some time, one where crab would be the main event, not the barely there side effect, as so often happens. I knew avocado would be a must, but I also really liked the idea of using either tangerine or pink grapefruit segments. Then, while out shopping, I found some wonderful tangelos – which are a hybrid between the two. Tangelos it was! Sweet and juicy, the tangelos taste like an orange, but not quite. I also like the refreshing saltiness of celery, and parsley was a no brainer.
This is an easy salad. I used Dungeness crab because it is my favorite and it is now in season here in California. But you can use king crab if you like.
DUNGENESS CRAB SALAD WITH TANGELOS, AVOCADO & CELERY – Citrus Vinaigrette
yields: 4-5 portions
- 1 lb. (ca. 500 gr.) lump freshly cooked Dungeness crab meat
- about 1 & 1/2 celery sticks, rinsed and dried
- 1 & 1/2 medium avocado
- 3 Tangelos (or 3 small oranges, or 4 good sized tangerines)
- 1 Meyer lemon
- a small bundle of fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt
Optional: micro greens for garnish
STEP 1 – Peel and segment the tangelos into a bowl, saving the juice as well. If you have never done it, here is a quick YouTube video that will show you how. Slice the celery sticks crosswise at an angle. Try to keep the pieces about 1/8th of an inch thick, but the sky won’t fall if they are a little bigger. Set aside.
Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed and peel. Place the half avocado face down on the cutting board, cut in half lengthwise, then in slices crosswise (see images for reference). Repeat with the other half. Place the sliced avocado in a bowl and toss with the juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon. Set aside. Finely chop a small bundle of parsley leaves, and set aside.
STEP 2 – Prepare the vinaigrette. Place about 3 Tablespoons of the citrus juice in a bowl, squeeze in the juice of the remaining half Meyer lemon. The lemon juice will provide the tartness lacking in the sweeter tangelos. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Whip with a whisk till the salt has melted. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, and continue to whisk until emulsified (the mixture will become opaque and creamy).
STEP 3 – Using some kitchen paper, pat the crab meat dry, then place it in a large bowl. Add the celery, about 3/4 of the citrus segments without the juice, the avocado without the excess lemon juice, and 3 Tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley. Stir it gently to avoid breaking up all the tender ingredients (it is best to use your hands. Dress with most of the vinaigrette, and stir again. Arrange in single serving plates or large platter or bowl. Decorate with the remaining tangelos segments, another sprinkling of parsley, and, if you like, some micro greens. Drizzle a little more vinaigrette around it and serve.
This is a very fresh and light salad, satisfying on many levels. You can modify the amounts to your taste, of course. Maybe you like more avocado, or less, more citrus… Just remember that crab has a delicate flavor, and can be easily swamped. You can also prepare the salad ahead of time. Just dress with the vinaigrette at the last minute. If you like, you can also serve it on a bed of young green salads.
I happen to have a bottle of basil extra-virgin olive oil I purchased in Carmel Valley this past December. It is the kind where the basil is pressed in with the olives, so as not to compromise the oil through infusion. I made about half the salad amount given here, and ate it over two days. On the second day, I drizzled a little of the basil olive oil and it worked beautifully, adding just a hint of basil, but not covering the other flavors.
This is the first recipe I have posted in a while. More will follow as my kitchen and utensils become fully available – not to mention all the props and a better spot to photograph that has not color casts. In the meantime, you do remember I have many other wonderful recipes already on the blog, right?
Here are a few more light and easy ones you might enjoy: