Friday, May 29, 2020

Marinated Cracked Blue Crab Salad

Highly seasoned boiled crab and claws, marinated in a vinegar and oil dressing, with fresh vegetables, lemon and lots of garlic.

Marinated Blue Crab Salad

From the time that I was a little girl, tying down chicken backs into crab nets on a Biloxi pier with my Grandma Mac, fresh crabs have been such a central part of my life.

In gumbo or stuffed into the shell, made into crab cakes or patties, stuffed into po'boy bread, or jumbo shrimp, in pasta, even that hot crab dip that shows up at pretty much every event in existence around here, I can't even imagine a life without some fresh blue crab in it.

When we get them live, we boil them in a highly seasoned tub of deliciousness down here, unlike the steamed seafood method from further up the east shoreline, where they share a love of blue crab.

I suppose that when you hear the words "crab salad," you probably think more along the lines of either a green salad featuring crab, or the old school classic crab salad made with mayonnaise and also sometimes combined with pasta. Folks around here tend to call this mixture of crab, with loads of garlic and veggies, a crab salad too. I call it marinated cracked crab, so you may see it referred to either way.

It's best of course, that you start with crabs that you've boiled and highly seasoned yourself, or buy already boiled from a trusted seafood market that knows how to season them right. Most people around here pick a cooler of them up straight from the crab boats and use any leftovers to make this marinated crab salad. This is definitely a messy dish, intended to be picked and consumed with fingers, something that the Cajun isn't much a fan of doing. Although he loves crabmeat, he'd rather someone else do the picking - it's just too much trouble for him. That's okay, because I absolutely love them - more for me!

Here's how to make this marinated crab, and as always, just swipe or scroll past the step by step pictures for the full recipe text, with measurements, instructions and a printable.

That's a bowl of deliciousness!

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Recipe: Marinated Blue Crab Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min
Inactive time: 24-48 hours

Total time: 48 hours 10 min
Yield: About 4 entree servings


For the Salad:
  • 1 dozen well-seasoned cooked Gulf blue crabs with claws
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped garlic (about 10 cloves)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • lemons, halved
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup salad oil (vegetable, corn, canola) or light olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Seafood Butter Sauce (Optional):
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Lightly crack claws; remove and discard any small shards that break off. Clean the crabs and split crab bodies in half, adding them along with the claws to a large, lidded plastic bowl. Top with bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaves and green onion. Squeeze lemons on top, add parsley and lightly toss. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over top; toss again. Cover and refrigerate up to 48 hours, gently stirring several times. Let come to room temperature before serving.

For the sauce, when ready to serve, melt butter in saucepan; add garlic and seasonings; saute until garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and pour over crabs just before serving or offer in small individual bowls for dipping. Serve with a good bottled beer and French bread.

Cook's Notes: This is definitely a messy dish, intended to be picked and consumed with fingers.

Boiled Crabs: If you don't have access to nicely seasoned, already boiled crabs, but you can get live crabs, start with 1 to 2 dozen fresh and live crabs, depending on size. Use long handled tongs to place live crabs in a large pot, add a bottle of beer, and fill with water leaving a couple of inches free. Add 2 tablespoons cooking oil, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 heaping tablespoon crab and shrimp boil, or 2 tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning, 1 small onion and 2 lemons, cut into quarters. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until crabs are bright red. Use tongs to remove crabs to a platter and let rest until cool enough to handle.


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