|West Indies Salad is a well loved Gulf Coast favorite, where crab is marinated in oil and vinegar, with minced onion, and covered with crushed ice.|
West Indies SaladWhether served on a bed of mixed baby greens, in a tomato, spooned onto a cracker or like here, in an avocado, this is a pretty simple vinegar and oil dressed salad, likened to the popular sweet & sour cucumber salads so loved in the south, but made with crab instead.
Another popular southern creation that was born right down here in Mobile, Alabama back in 1947, created by restaurateur Bill Bayley, owner of Bayley’s Restaurant. One of the popular legends about how this dish came to be, involved Mr. Bayley's stint as a former merchant marine, where he served as a ship's stewart. After purchasing a bag of lobsters at a West Indies port, he cooked them and then tossed them in a concoction consisting of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Years later, after opening his own restaurant in Mobile, he sought to recreate that recipe, but having better access to crabs than to lobster, he used crab instead and the West Indies Salad was born.
This is the basic salad, which I confess, while downright tasty all on its own, I really make primarily so I can make these.
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Recipe: West Indies Salad©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 8 hours | Yield: 4 servings
- 1 cup of crushed ice and water to cover
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 pound fresh, lump crabmeat, picked through
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces canola or vegetable oil
- 4 ounces of apple cider vinegar
- 2 avocados, halved but unskinned
Put ice in a measuring cup in add enough water to cover; stir. Meanwhile, in a medium sized glass bowl, place half of the onion into the bottom of the bowl. Sprinkle the crab on top of the onion and put the remaining onion on top of that. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove the ice and place on top of the onion, mix together the iced water, oil and vinegar and pour that on top of the crab and onion mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Serve over salad greens, stuffed in a tomato, spooned onto a cracker or like here, in an avocado.
Cooks Note: Can use a mild red onion if desired. The crab that is predominantly used in the Gulf Coast area is blue crab.
Tip: To easily pick out any shell, spread crab on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in a 200 degree oven for 3 minutes. The shell will be visible and easy to pick out. Let cool completely.
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