A fabulous dish to do when it is hot out and you just don’t want to really cook something, is to make a nice and fully packed crab salad.
As I see it, it should be crunchy, spicy, having tons of good crab meat and also feel like a full meal.
A little watery crab salad with substitute crab meat doesn’t do it for me.
I saw one of my favorite master chefs make this avocado ball and after trying it a couple of times, I now love it. It is a little bit of drama in the presentation. Perfect if you are having people over for dinner, and want to impress them.
My husband can’t eat avocado, so I make the same thing for him but I use other “shells”. Anything from baked sweet potato to fresh bananas. Please note, if you use sweet potatoes, you have to finely slice them (preferably on a mandolin or something like that) and bake them in the oven on a medium low heat so that the strips don’t burn. Let cool down before using.
Crab salad with Walnuts and Pears.
serves 4-8 (depending on how you serve the salad)
1 1/2 c. of good fresh lump crab meat.
(If you are making the avocado ball you need 4 nice and ripe avocados. Make sure they are still firm enough to slice. You need 1- 2 avocados per ball if you make them small.)
1/2 c. good mayo.
1/2 c. creme fraiche.
1/4 c. walnuts. Chopped and roasted. (If you serve the salad “open” not in an avocado ball, save a few whole walnuts as decoration for the top of the salad).
1/4 c. Finely chopped celery.
2 nice and firm & sweet pears or apples. Finely chopped.
1/4 c. chives. Finely chopped.
1/4 c. dried cranberries. Chopped. (If you can’t get that, use raisins).
2 tbsp. of squeezed lemon or lime juice. (You could also use a little bit of the zest in the salad).
Salt & Pepper to taste.
A splash of hot-sauce (or 1/2 tsp. optional).
(1/2 tsp. old bay seasoning or any other seafood seasoning, optional. I don’t use this but it does give a little more “round” taste).
Mix everything together but the crab meat. Make sure it is mixed well.
Gently fold in the crab. Make sure you still will have big lumps of the meat.
You can serve the Crab salad in many ways.
The most smashing way would be to make Avocado balls and hide the crab salad inside the avocado. This is a little labour intense and detail oriented. But is make a great presentation.
You could also take apple or pear slices. Dip them or brush them with some lemon juice and add scoops of the salad on top. Decorated with a walnut.
Another way would be to serve the salad in a lettuce leave, shaped a little like a bowl.
Cut the avocado as thinly as you can.
Take some glad wrap and put on a cutting board. Brush with some of the lemon juice.
Lay down the avocado slices on the glad wrap, creating a nice and totally covered circle.
Add a couple of tbsp. of the crab salad onto the middle of the circle.
Gently lift up the avocado & crab salad only holding the corners of the plastic wrap.
Start to shape a round ball.
Twist the glad warp making the avocado ball nice and firm. Make sure nothing pours out and the plastic wrap doesn’t break.
When totally round, add do a plate. Decorate with some of the chives.
You could either leave it as a “mystery” avocado ball or just cut it open for people to see what it is that hides inside.