Crab and Avocado Salad with Lemon Yoghurt Dressing
This Crab and Avocado Salad is full of the flavours of summer with char-grilled asparagus, char-grilled spring onion and a creamy dressing made from natural yoghurt, lemon and fresh red chillies!
A Cornish inspired recipe
I have had more holidays to Cornwall than I can even remember. It is part of England that I have huge affinity with and I hope one day I will get to grow old in a cottage by the sea. In an attempt to bring some of the summer sunshine, and fresh Cornish air home with me, I came up with this Crab and Avocado Salad.
I first had a salad similar to this in a cafe called Cherry Trees that sits right on the harbour wall in Padtsow. The salad was so fresh (the crabs were literally landed in the harbour, visible from where I was sitting) but also so incredibly balanced and filling. It was the perfect lunch time treat.
Whenever I want to be transported back to that spot I make this salad. It’s similar enough to that one I ate in cherry Trees, but I also put my own little twist on the dish by ramping up the flavour with a lemon and yogurt dressing. My version of the Crab and Avocado Salad also has char-grilled asparagus, char-grilled spring onions. The thick and creamy dressing is made from yogurt, lemon and chilli. The flavours are clean and fresh, working perfectly with the light and fragrant crab meat.
A quick guide to fresh crab
Buying a crab
This recipe calls for 150 grams of crab meat. With such a simple dish as this you won’t be surprised to hear that fresh crab meat is best. It has a far superior texture and and flavour than any other kind.
If you’re near the sea, I highly recommend buying a live crab. Ask the fishmonger to kill it for you and then cook it as soon as you get home. (Simply add it to a pan of salted boiling water and simmer for 11 minutes per kilogram). The crab should feel heavy and smell fresh.
Alternatively you can buy prepared crab from lots of supermarkets and most fishmongers. A prepared crab is one which has been cooked and then had both the white and dark meat removed for you. It’s then placed back in the crab shell as a natural “packaging” before being sold to consumers. The benefit of using dressed crab is that you don’t have to worry about removing the crab meat from it’s shell.
How to remove crab meat from the shell
If you do buy a fresh crab to cook at home you will need to remove the meat yourself. I promise you it’s not as daunting as it sounds. Just follow these simple steps:
- Place the crab on to a chopping board with the flat top facing downwards. Twist off it’s claws and legs and place them to one side.
- Next, push down on the crabs underside until it comes away from the top shell. Pull out the broken shell and insides. This should come away in one piece.
- Cut this in half and pull away the meat and place into a bowl. You might find this easier if you use a skewer or a lobster pick.
- Going back to the rest of the crab. pull away the feathery fills inside the shell and around the body. (These are sometimes called dead man’s fingers! )
- Inside the shell will be the brown meat. Scoop this out into a bowl. (If you spot any straw pieces of shell make sure to remove them straight away).
- Next, crack the claws open with the back of a heavy knife or a lobster mallet. Do this carefully to avoid small fragments of shell. Remove the meat and add to your bowl.
- Finally, pick through the bowl of crab meat to ensure there are no pieces of shell.
If you’re after a little video instruction then check out this helpful video from the Great British Chefs.
Alternatives to fresh crab
If you aren’t able to get hold of fresh crab meat then do not worry! You can, of course, make this salad using a dressed crab or tub of crab meat from your supermarket or fishmonger which will save on prep time! I’ve even made it using frozen (but thawed) crab meat before. But, when it comes to both flavour and texture, fresh really is best!
Crab and Avocado Salad with Lemon Yoghurt Dressing
- 150 g crab meat
- 200 g salad leaves I used beetroot, lambs lettuce and chard
- 1 small avocado
- 10 asparagus trimmed
- 5 spring onions
- 1 tbsp natural yogurt
- lemon juice only
- 1 red chilli
- Pinch salt and pepper
- Cut both ends off of the spring onions and slice lengtheways down the middle.
- Heat a griddle pan until its really hot and place the spring onions flat side down, onto the griddle pan. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until charred.
- Flip the vegetables over and griddle for a further 5 minutes then remove from the heat.
- While the asparagus and spring onions are cooling remove the crab meat from the crab’s shell.
- Scatter leaves across the two plates, top with spoonfuls of avocado, the asparagus and spring onion.
- Place a mound of crab meat on top of each salad.
- Dice the chilli and stir into the yoghurt along with the lemon juice and seasoning.
- Drizzle the yoghurt dressing over the salad and top with the cress.
More summer recipes
My seasonal recipe archive showcases the best spring, summer, autumn and winter recipes!
Are there any dishes that instantly transport you back to memories of holiday? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.