This recipe, a delicious, easy-to-make alternative to crab cakes, showcases the sweet-saltiness of the West Coast’s favorite, Dungeness crab. The flavor of the dish is pleasantly complex without the recipe being complicated for the cook to make. We can say with assurance that the result is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.
We’ve also included our recipe for an elegant, easy curry mayonnaise. If you’re in a crunch for time, simply substitute purchased mayonnaise and add curry powder to taste.
1In a large stainless steel bowl, combine crab, apple, celery, cucumber, shallot, fennel, and fennel fronds. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and mayonnaise, and gently fold ingredients together, trying not to break up the crab too much, until well combined and evenly covered with the mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.
For the curry mayonnaise:
1Place the curry powder, egg yolk, and lemon juice in a small stainless steel bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until ingredients thicken and a creamy consistency is formed. If the consistency is too thick, slowly add small amounts of cold water until the mixture resembles a spreadable mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.
1On a chilled plate, place crab salad on a bed of spicy greens and top with a spoonful of remaining curry mayonnaise and sliced European cucumbers.
Advance preparation: The mayonnaise may be made ahead and kept in a sealed container for several days in the refrigerator. The recipe yields more curry mayonnaise than needed for the crab salad, but it’s a special treat to have on hand. The extra mayonnaise makes a delicious spread for sandwiches.
Substitutions and options: Jonah crab is the best substitute in this recipe because it has a similar sweetness and appearance to Dungeness crab. If substituting lump meat from blue crab, the salad will have a more buttery flavor and a less stringy texture. This is not a bad thing, just different.
You may substitute other sweet apple varieties, like McIntosh or Delicious, but do not use tart varieties such as Granny Smith. The additional sourness will throw off the balance of flavors.
Beverage pairing: Choose a Riesling with crisp acidity and hints of green apple and citrus. Recommended: 2001 Holloran Winery, “La Pavillon,” Riesling, Willamette Valley, Oregon; or Pikes Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.