From crab cakes to jambalaya, these luscious crab recipes come together fast.
Food & Wine
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Crab Rolls with Lemon Aioli
New Orleans chefs often drown seafood in rich, spicy sauces, but here, chef Jason McCullar of Cure simply dresses sweet crabmeat (a Louisiana staple) in lemon-scented aioli. The crab salad is wonderful piled on hot dog buns like a New England lobster roll or arranged delicately on small rolls as hors d'oeuvres.
Lump crabmeat is mixed with only enough bread crumbs and mayonnaise to hold it together, then coated with more crumbs and fried to a golden brown. A mixture of sour cream and horseradish provides lively accompaniment.
Rundown is a classic Caribbean recipe that involves cooking foods like crab, mackerel or lobster in coconut milk. (The word rundown refers to the simmering down of the coconut milk.) Bradford Thompson, who loves the whole crab he eats along Jamaica's southern coast, near the town of Black River, uses chunks of lump crabmeat in this spicy, rich coconut-curry stew. Curry, which is popular in Jamaica, was introduced there in the 17th century by East Indian slaves who were brought to the island (then an English colony) by the British.
The Lees created this gazpacho as a riff on a recipe from The Virginia Housewife, a seminal Southern cookbook first published in 1824 that is still in print. They sweeten the cold tomato soup with watermelon and make it fiery with habanero and poblano chiles.
Vitaly Paley, the chef and owner of Paley's Place, created this deliciously indulgent version of the classic tuna melt while competing in a cook-off sponsored by the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. Pairing moist chunks of crab with brioche, truffle butter and nutty Gruyère cheese easily snagged him a first-place prize.
For this classic tapa, Jose Garces stuffs his delicious crab salad into individual piquillo peppers and roasts them until hot. Make it more easily by spreading the crab mixture in a baking dish, topping it with slices of the peppers, then cooking until warm and melty.
When Bobby Flay goes to San Francisco, he gorges on Dungeness crab. Here he combines morsels of sweet crab with Asian flavors—lush coconut milk, piquant lime juice and aromatic cilantro—then serves it with salty chips.
"I use this machine all the time," says Jing Tio of his L'Equip dehydrator, which looks like a supersized plastic toaster with horizontal drying trays. Tio has perfected the art of drying orange peel, grinding it to create a citrus powder with a beautifully smooth flavor—delicious with his simple crab and scallion salad. You can buy granulated orange peel at specialty food shops.
Zapallar, the small Chilean beach town where the Huneeus's family villa is located, has a wonderful fish market where Valeria Huneeus buys excellent fresh crab. She loves tossing it with sweet and soft avocados, a little coconut milk and fresh ginger, then serving it in a glass, shooter-style, with a thick slice of avocado on top.