Crab and avocado salad recipe
By BBC Maestro
There are very few food pairings that taste better than crab and fresh avocado. The subtle flavours found in the crab meat combined with the creaminess of the avocado strike the perfect balance for a light summer dish.
Let’s take a look at the origins of this delicious pairing plus a unique twist on the humble crab and avocado salad recipe from chef Marco Pierre White.
Traditional crab and avocado salads
Today, you can find plenty of different crab and avocado pairings all over the world. Most popularly, perhaps, is in the dishes of coastal towns and in seafood-centric cuisines. Think of crab and smashed avocado served in tortillas with chilli and lime found in Mexico or freshly caught Cornish crab simply paired with avocado, mixed leaves, tomatoes and a lemon dressing in the UK.
In most crab and avocado salads on menus today though, you can find a combination of some (or all) of the following ingredients:
- crab meat (canned or fresh)
- a diced avocado
- fresh vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes or red onion
- fresh herbs like coriander, parsley or dill
- citrus dressing with lemon or lime and even mustard or mayonnaise
Some choose to add spices (think paprika or cayenne pepper) to their dishes for a bit of a kick, or even add crumbled feta cheese to enhance some of the dish's tangier flavours. So, when making your own crab and avocado salad, it’s up to you how simple or sophisticated as you wish.
For chef Marco Pierre White though, he likes to keep the pairing simple. Let’s take a look at his take on a crab and avocado salad, in a recipe so good that he just can’t seem to forget it.
Crab and avocado salad recipe
First introduced to Marco Pierre White one evening in a London kitchen in 1978, this recipe calls for simple ingredients and easy techniques. The fresher the crab the better, he reminds viewers in his online cooking course, and be sure to taste along the way, as all crab meat can taste slightly different.
This recipe makes enough for one person, so if you’re serving it for date night or a dinner party, adjust accordingly.
- 75g picked white crab meat
- juice of half a lemon
- white pepper
- fine salt
- flaked salt
- olive oil
- young parsley shoots 1 chive
Place the crab meat into a bowl and add a few drops of lemon juice, a sprinkling of fine salt and white pepper. Drizzle in a few drops of olive oil and gently stir the ingredients together. “Work it through very gently” here, he says.
Slice the base of the avocado pear off. Carefully peel the skin from the flesh before gently running your knife widthways around the avocado, not lengthways. Push the knife deeply enough all the way around until it stops naturally at the stone.
Twist the avocado halves and separate. Carefully and accurately swipe the heel of your knife into the stone, give it a twist of the wrist and remove.
Fill the fat-end half of the avocado with your crab mix. Do not pack it in, instead with a light touch place as much crab as you can into the cavity. Gently balance the other half of the avocado on top, then transfer to the centre of your plate.
“This is where it gets interesting,” says Marco Pierre White. “Gently paint it with oil,” using a pastry brush. Brush the avocado all over with a thin layer. Then “wet your fingers using the oil, take the herbs and run them through your fingers very gently, so not to bruise them. Then stick them to the avocado.”
Finish by slicing the chive into three thin, finger-length pieces and arranging on the avocado. Scatter parsley on to the plate, dot with more olive oil and finish the dish with a generous sprinkling of flaked salt.
It’s a simple dish ready in minutes. As Marco Pierre White says, “the more you do to food, the more you take away.”
So tuck in! Serve it on its own, alongside a main dish or even find pair it with your favourite white wine. If you want to learn to cook more delicious food, take a look at Marco Pierre White’s course, Delicious Food Cooked Simply.