West Indies Crab Salad

Every so often, I find some interesting recipes at the food blogs that I follow and ask Marie to think about making them. But what to do when I can’t actually eat the food that sounds so very good?

Despite the name, ours is not actually a crab salad recipe, though it easily could be if you follow the original ingredients list. The problem is that Grant is tragically allergic to most shellfish. As is the case with nearly everyone I know with allergies or food intolerances, it’s the stuff he loves most that gives him the worst trouble. Ridiculous, isn’t it? So of course when he read a story about West Indies Crab Salad over at our friend-in-blogging Richi’s site, Three Friends and a Fork, he inquired into the suitability of artificial crab, and it wasn’t bad at all! Please, if you make this, would you report back on how it is with the real stuff?

This is a pretty simple recipe. If you happen to have your crab on hand you probably are good to go, as the rest of the recipe is pantry staples: salt, pepper, cider vinegar, chopped sweet onion, any kind of mild vegetable oil other than olive, and ice water. The olive oil exception is merely for aesthetic reasons as it solidifies in the fridge.

Note that the photo of the ingredients includes a large sweet onion – I only used about a third of it. Could have used more, but even 5 years after the fact, my family is still onion-averse due to some incidents related to pregnancy cravings.

I had my portion with some pears poached in red wine and they went pretty well despite the pairing clash (sometime or other I need to try poaching pears in white just to see what happens; I will surely miss the lovely color, but they’d go better with seafood and chicken).

My son has been particularly finicky lately and didn’t want to try the salad. He fell in love with the saltines, though. Naturally. Because he’s five. He’ll grow out of it in time and with encouragement. I hope.

Here is the link we used and the recipe from it. The author tried really hard to get authentic non-imported blue crab. I recommend that if you have the option. We feel strongly that wherever possible we should use the most local, fresh seafood available, and would have if we could. Darn you, food sensitivities!

West Indies Salad, as detailed by Three Friends and a Fork:

1 pound lump or crab claw meat
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice water
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place 1/2 of the chopped onion in a glass or ceramic dish. Top with the crab. Put the remaining onion over the crab. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In order, pour oil, then vinegar and finally ice water over the crab. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with saltine crackers.


Do you enjoy classic adventure TV? I’m reliving some great shows from my own childhood with my five year-old son. Come join the fun at Fire-Breathing Dimetrodon Time!

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4 thoughts on “West Indies Crab Salad

  1. I didn’t realize u were allergic to crab, Grant! What a shame. This recipe sounds good but I think the imitation is a shame. When my aunt makes West Indies Salad, she does use a canned crab, which may not be as good as fresh but it has a better consistency for the sort of spread that will go best on crackers.

    1. Believe us, we thought it was a shame too, and we’d have used the real stuff if we could! Canned probable is a bit easier to work with. We really needed to eat these with a fork handy for the bits that fell off the crackers. Still worth it, though!

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