Crab Salad is a simple mixture of delectable real lump crab meat and diced crunchy celery tossed in a creamy dressing of mayonnaise, a touch of Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, capers and fresh parsley. It’s a wonderful seafood salad to enjoy on its own over crisp butter lettuce, but also delicious in a crab salad sandwich, seafood pasta salad or elegantly served in avocado halves or hollowed out tomatoes.
I didn’t grow up eating crab. In fact, my first taste of anything similar was in college and it was imitation Krab. I think this SF Gate article quote says it best, “Imitation crab is made with a type of fish called surimi. Manufacturers add fillers, flavoring and color to surimi to mimic the taste, texture and color of real crab legs.” And, to me, it doesn’t taste at all like the real thing. For this salad, it’s worth the splurge to buy real lump crab.
Just as with a great crab cake recipe, a real crab salad recipe should be all about enhancing the flavor of the crab meat not competing with it (also true for Shrimp Salad). And it’s best to avoid a large amount of dressing that can weigh down the salad and make it goopy. Just enough to coat every tender bite with creamy, salty, tanginess to bring out all of that delicious crab flavor.
For the dressing, use good quality mayonnaise (or homemade mayonnaise if you’re feeling ambitious), fresh lemon juice and, ideally, salt cured capers, though brine cured will also work. And I recommend using an inner, tender and crisp rib of celery (or two if you love celery) for a delicate, pleasant crunch throughout the salad.
If you’re making crab salad sandwiches, this recipe will make 4 large sandwiches on hoagie rolls or 8 small sandwiches on potato or brioche rolls.
To make a seafood pasta salad that makes 4 generous servings, cook 8 ounces of dry, short pasta like rotini according to package directions then drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain thoroughly then toss pasta with crab salad and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to meld; toss again just before serving.
To serve in avocado halves and/or hollowed out tomatoes, line 6 serving plates with butter lettuce leaves. Arrange avocado halves and tomatoes on the lettuce and fill with salad. Divide any remaining crab salad artfully among plates and serve.
What goes with Crab Salad?
How to Make Crab Salad
Step 1: Make dressing by stirring together mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, capers and parsley.
Step 2: Place lump crab and diced celery in a large bowl. Spoon dressing over and toss gently to coat; serve.
Crab Salad Recipe Video
- Arrange butter lettuce leaves on 4 individual serving bowls or salad plates.
- Add lump crab and celery to a large bowl.
- Make crab salad dressing by stirring together remaining ingredients, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, capers and fresh parsley.
- Spoon dressing over crab and celery; gently toss to coat evenly. Divide crab salad among 4 prepared bowls or plates and serve.