Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mom’s Crab Salad with Dungeness Crab

Crab Salad on English Muffin with side salad
Like Mom Used to Make

Recipe by Mom

At last it’s Dungeness crab season in Santa Cruz, after a nasty algal bloom that nixed the usual winter celebrations with our favorite crustaceans. Although it’s not cheap and the season seems off, let’s support our local crab fishermen, who’ve had some tough times this year. After filling my family with steamed crab, I made Mom’s “crabmeat salad,” which she prepared with canned crab back in the 1960s. Canned crab isn’t what it used to be—now it’s a shredded mess that tastes metallic. Fresh local crab is the ticket.  Mom’s recipe is extremely simple, and contains no ingredients that might overshadow crab’s subtle flavor.

Fabulous Crab, We've Missed You
Buy the Dungeness crab pre-steamed, or, if you’re adventuresome, try my recipe for steaming live crabs. If you steam your own, chill the crabmeat before preparing this cold salad. My mom served the salad in a sandwich on white bread, accompanied by shredded iceberg lettuce with sweet, creamy dressing—perfect for feeding two toddlers. I’ve made it open-faced on wholegrain English muffins, garnished with chives and paprika. You could also scoop it on top of a green salad, possibly beside a scoop of homemade egg salad made with leftover Easter eggs.

Enjoy this odd-season salad for luncheon with a loved one, accompanied by glasses of light, fruity white wine for a springtime twist on Mom’s wintery classic.

Closeup of Crab Salad
Sprinkle Lightly with Paprika and Chives
Mom’s Crabmeat Salad
2 generous servings

7 oz. fresh local crabmeat (from 1 lb. crab)
3 tbsp. real mayonnaise (light okay)
1/3 cup finely chopped celery (~1 stalk)
2 wholegrain English muffins
~1 tsp. finely chopped chives
Dusting of paprika

If crab is still in the shell, use nutcracker and/or kitchen shears to remove crabmeat from shell.

In small bowl, break up large chunks of crabmeat, and pick through it to remove any remaining shell.

Add mayonnaise and stir in until mixture is consistent. Add finely chopped celery and mix thoroughly. If desired, or if crab is dry, you can add a bit more mayo.

Split and toast English muffins. Place muffins on two plates and top with prepared crab salad. Sprinkle with finely chopped chives and dust with paprika. Serve with light white wine or sparkling water.

Crab Salad Plate before Garnishes
Before Sprinkling Paprika and Chives

Crab Salad Plate Completed
After Sprinkling Paprika and Chives