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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lemon Crab Salad: Recipe

This recipe was based on something I read but as the holiday got closer I began tinkering with it. Isn't that always the case? This was interesting though...I had intended for this recipe to have mango and avocado but that day when I started to peel the mango, it looked terrible! It was not yet fully ripe (I think that was the problem) and since I needed something to balance the dish I reached for a very yummy pink grapefruit I had in the fridge. Ultimately I think it was better than the mango - fresher tasting. Given the hefty amount of food served on Christmas Eve, this offered a refreshing way to clear the mouth before the main course arrived.

The fish monger I work with was awesome - he asked me what I was making with the crab I ordered and then explained to me that it was best to use the backfin (more expensive, sadly) since it came with large pieces of meat but he made me promise to be very gentle with it so I didn't break up the pieces of crab. He said that for a salad you want to see big pieces as opposed to a crab cake where you want mushed-up pieces.

Also, he explained to me that I should dress the crab early in the day because the crab will soak up the oil and lemon. He was right. Moral of the story: always talk to those who are behind the counter...they know a great deal about their products and can guide you so your dish comes out exactly as you imagined it. By the way, his name is Mike and he owns Plaza Seafood in Rockville Centre, NY.

Lemon Crab Salad with Pink Grapefruit and Avocado over Greens
1 Lbs. backfin crab
4 Tbsp. excellent olive oil + 1 Tbsp.
4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice + 1 Tbsp.
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 pink grapefruit, thinly sliced in rounds
2 Tbsp. Cilantro, finely chopped
3 cups baby greens

In a large colander, gently wash crab with the sink hose. Do not move it around too much. Allow it to drain well and place crab into a large bowl. Pour the 4 Tbsp. of olive oil and lemon juice over the crab and gently mix into the crab. Place into the refrigerator for about 7 or 8 hours and gently turn the crab in the bowl once or twice throughout that time.

Arrange greens in a serving bowl and pour the 1 Tbsp. of oil and lemon juice over greens. Toss and push them out toward the edges, leaving a slight hole in the center. Add the avocado to the crab mixture, along with the cilantro and mix again, gently. Pour the crab into the center of the serving bowl and place the grapefruit around the edges.

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