Sunday, June 20, 2010

Crab and Avocado…A Great Combination Of Summer Flavors

Few combinations are better in the summer than crab and avocado. Both have such clean, rich taste.

I use fresh King Crab legs in most recipes because it is so sweet.Steam in a covered pan for 10 minutes, cool and remove from the shell. I buy it at the grocery only when it is on sale.

Here is Alton Brown’s recipe to microwave the legs and they are also good.

• 6 Alaskan king crab claws, thawed

• 2 sprigs dill

Directions: If necessary in order to fit in microwave, cut claws at joints. Wrap 3 claws at a time in a damp paper towel, along with 1 sprig of dill, and then wrap in plastic wrap. Place wrapped claws in microwave 1 package at a time and cook on high for 2 minutes. Remove and unwrap carefully. Serve immediately.

These crab filled rolls are a perfect summer lunch served with fresh fruit.

Don’t forget to buy REALLY GOOD rolls. I got mine from the bakery and they are so much better than what I can buy at the grocery store. Once again, small stores and markets tend to have fresher and better products than the grocery chains.

I have also included a recipe for making Aioli. Since I discovered Aioli, I have experimented with the basic recipe and found some wonderful variations. If you are watching calories, you can use a low fat mayonnaise and still get some of the same great taste.

Aioli (eye-oh-lee) is an wonderful garlic mayonnaise sauce that hails from the Provence region of France and is as natural on the dining table there as butter, salt and pepper.

Crab Rolls with Lemon Aioli

Recipe by Chef Jason McCullar of Cure


1. 1 1/4 cups aioli or mayonnaise

2. 2 large celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice

3. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4. Cayenne pepper

5. 1 1/4 pounds crabmeat

6. Salt

7. 8 hot dog buns or 16 mini brioche rolls, split

8. 8 Boston lettuce leaves, sliced

In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the celery and lemon juice and season with cayenne. Gently fold in the crabmeat and season with salt. Fill the buns with the lettuce and the crab salad and serve.

Most of my friends like fast and easy and would not dream of making mayonnaise from scratch so here is a quick Aioli that is made from Readymade Mayonnaise:

1 cup mayonnaise (I use low fat)

6 fresh garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and other seasonings of choice. Cover and chill well.

You can serve your aioli after chilling it for about 30 minutes, but it's better if you allow several hours for the flavors to meld and mellow.

King Crab and Avocado Shooters

This is a fun recipe as an opening to a Mexican dinner. You can change it up and mix just about any fresh vegetable or fruit in.

I make this recipe when my vegetables are absolutely fresh and just coming out of the farmers market. You can play around with the ingredients ---sometimes I use crab and sometimes I keep it pure and just add to the basic gazpacho.

King Crab and Avocado Shooters

Serves 8

2 small avocados—1 cut into 1/2-inch dice, 1 cut into 8 wedges

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound king crabmeat

3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

One cup of gazpacho (look on the recipe page under soup: Gazpacho – Farmers Market.

In a shallow bowl, coarsely mash the diced avocado with a fork. Add the heavy cream and lemon juice and mash the mixture just until combined. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season generously with salt and pepper.

With kitchen scissors, cut the crab leg shells and pull out the crabmeat. Cut the crabmeat crosswise into 1-inch pieces and shred the crab. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk and ginger. Fold in the crab and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon gazpacho and avocado into 8 small glasses. You can also top each shooter with an avocado wedge before serving. I ran out!

Crab and Guacamole Appetizers

I love this appetizer for a summer party. Don’t forget the chipotle chile in adobo sauce because it absolutely makes this recipe. You can also top it with a little diced tomato before you serve.

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

1 pound crabmeat

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 large avocados, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small onion, minced

1 large jalapeño, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus small leaves for garnish

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons pure olive oil

5 dozen round tortilla chips

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, heavy cream and chipotle. Fold in the crab. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate.

In a large bowl, combine the avocados, onion, jalapeño, chopped cilantro, lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate.

To serve, put a heaping teaspoon of the guacamole on each tortilla chip, then spoon a tablespoon of the crab salad on top.

A Footnote on Crab Cakes

Whenever I’m served crabcakes, it’s usually been about the breading and never about the crab.

Here is a meaty recipe that takes crab cakes to a whole new level. The recipe said to serve with a little lemon but I also like cocktail sauce. This recipe has so much fresh crab it reminded me of the crab cocktail that I use to appreciate so often when I was in Seattle.

2 slices bread

½ pound crabmeat (I use fresh King Crab)

2 Tbsp Mayonnaise

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 large egg, beaten

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Tear bread into small pieces and put in a bowl with the crabmeat. Add mayonnaise, Worcestershire, 2 Tbsp egg, and a pinch of salt. Mix together and form 4 patties. Heat butter in a skillet and cook crab, turning once, until golden brown, about 6 minutes in total.

Bon Appetit!