Summer is in full swing — a great time to make a dish that’s not only tasty, but also, easy to transport to beach, pool, or picnic. So when the folks at Edible Sarasota asked me to create a crab recipe for their Summer issue, I decided on a salad, but one that’s a little different from the norm.
Many crab salad recipes call for mayonnaise. Yes, it adds creaminess to the flaky crab, but a mayo-based salad in Summer you always worry about how long it has been in the sun. To avoid all that, I created something that offers less stress. Instead of mayo, this has a flavorful whole-grain mustard dressing, along with fresh, bright herbs. Sure, you’ll still need to consider how long the crab itself has been soaking up the rays, but at least you won’t have to worry too much about giving your friends food poisoning 🙂
So what kind of crab do you use for a salad? You could round up a bunch of beautiful, big crabs, cook them and painstakingly pull out all the luscious meat yourself (which would make a fun project with the kids), but the most common way to procure tasty crab is to buy a package that some other hard-working person has carefully prepared just for you. Fish markets and specialty stores usually carry it (canned/pasteurized or fresh packed). There are several grades, ranging from colossal/jumbo (large chunks of meat that’s sweet and bright white) to claw meat (small pieces, brownish in color with stronger flavor). I like to use lump or jumbo lump because of its mild flavor and bright white color, but get whatever works for your budget and appeals to your taste buds.
This salad comes together quickly in one bowl. Serve it atop crostini or sliced cucumbers, mix it with fresh greens (I suggest making a little more dressing if you decide to do this), layer in a sandwich with crispy lettuce, or serve in little cups with a fork next to a grilled hot dog and potato chips. Enjoy!
Summer Crab Salad
A fresh crab salad with mint, parsley and basil, along with a zippy whole-grain mustard and lemon dressing.
- 1 Tb whole-grain mustard
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled, minced & mashed
- 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
- 3 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. lump crab meat, picked through for shells
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, small dice
- 1/4 cup English cucumber, small dice
- 1/4 cup fresh corn kernels or yellow bell pepper, small dice
- 1-2 Tb. red onion, minced
- 1 Tb. fresh basil, minced
- 1 Tb. fresh parsley, minced
- 1 Tb. fresh mint, minced
- 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside.
Into a large mixing bowl, add crab, bell pepper, cucumber, corn, onion, herbs and jalapeno (if using). Add dressing, stir gently to combine, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve with crusty bread or crostini, with mixed greens as a salad, in a sandwich, or all by itself.