West Indies Crab Salad Recipe


If you're looking for a way to showcase extremely fresh crab that doesn't require much fuss, this little-known Southern salad (it is believed to have originated in Mobile, Alabama) is the way to go. The simple vinaigrette enhances the crab's subtle sweetness. When working with lump crab, it's important to remove any stray bits of shell. Spread the crabmeat on a baking sheet and place it under the broiler for 45 seconds. The meat will barely get warm, but the shells will turn bright orange, so you can pick them out more easily.

West Indies Crab Salad
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
6 serves


  • 2 pounds fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, drained and picked over

  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion (from 1 small onion)

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoons black pepper

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

  • 6 Bibb lettuce leaves (from 1 head)


  1. Place crabmeat, vinegar, onion, sugar, oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, and gently combine. Serve immediately, or chill, covered, 2 to 3 hours. (Salad is best after chilling.) Fold in mint just before serving. Spoon crab mixture and juices over lettuce leaves, and serve.

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