Blue Crab Salad with Mango-Cucumber Salad, Mango “Chutney”, Pansies and Cucumber Juice
Seafood lovers around the world feast on blue crabs. And, each country has its own innovative name for the crustacean.
The Italian name for blue crab loosely translates as “Blunder Swimmer.”
Makes sense. As far as I know, no language contains the expression “As graceful as a crab.” In addition, the Korean name for blue crab literally means “Flower Crab.” An interesting contrast because in their natural state, crabs seem more abstract than floral. Nonetheless, an abstract flower still appears slightly flowery.
Diverging a little further, flowery people are sweet and crabby people are bitter. Even more, crab meat tastes sweet and some flowers have bitter flavors.
So, what if we combine the sweet crab with a bitter flower? Let’s say a blueish pansy, with shades reminiscent of a crab’s shell.
To echo and balance flavors, add some mango to reinforce the crab’s sweetness.
Next, mix in a cucumber’s mild astringency to underline the pansy’s sharpness.
Contrasting further, the international taste for blue crab isn’t exclusive to humans. Numerous aquatic foodies keep blue crab on their daily menus. In this video, take a look at a few marine epicures that share our blue crab affinity and one way people experience blue crab more elegantly. With flowers. Flowers never blunder.
A few notes on crab meat and mangoes. If you’re on a budget and still want to try the dish, canned off-the-shelf crab works fine.
Buy one more mango than you need. Mangoes don’t always cooperate. If the first one is pristine, fantastic! You have a treat for later. If the mango has seen better days, you’ve saved yourself some aggravation.
8 ounces blue crab meat.
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
2 teaspoons olive oil
¾ cup finely diced mango
¾ cup finely chopped cucumber
1 cup cucumber juice (Juice about 1 ½ pounds of cucumbers and strain the juice through cheesecloth. Or, buy it at health food stores)
1 cup mango “chutney” (Recipe follows)
Gently toss the diced mango and cucumber. Season with salt and pepper.
Fold the olive oil, shallots and chives into the crab meat. Season with salt and pepper.
Fill a 2 inch ring mold half way with the the mango-cucumber salad, pressing down. Fill the remaining space with the crab salad. Or, simply toss everything together.
Place the ring mold in the center of the plate. Squeeze a large dot (about a tablespoon) of the mango “chutney” on the plate. Drag a tablespoon through the mango to create a swoosh. Fill the gap in the swoosh with cucumber juice. Repeat as often as you like.
Place a few pansy petals on the crab salad to resemble a flower. Place a pansy petal at the tail end of each swoosh. Serve immediately.
1/3 cup rice vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 shallot chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
A half inch piece of peeled ginger, chopped
1 Thai chile, chopped
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 cup chopped mango
Place all the ingredients except the mango in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the mango and simmer for 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool before blending.
Place everything in a blender and blend for one minute. Strain into a container.
The “chutney” can be prepared a week in advance and refrigerated. The sauce also compliments pork and chicken.
Makes about 1 cup.
If you love crab, mango or cucumber, please like and share. Comments are always welcome!