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Crab and Avocado Salad with Japanese Dressing from Nigella --What's In Your Easter Basket?

Posted Apr 01 2010 3:01am
This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (our last week with the wonderful Nigella Lawson ;-( but then next week we start cooking with Mark Bittman ;-) yay!), the theme is Easter Basket . Now I like an Easter basket full of chocolate like anyone else, but in all things balance so why not enjoy a healthy but still decadent Crab & Avocado Salad with Japanese Dressing for your Easter brunch or lunch, leaving yourself plenty of room to indulge in some Easter goodies?! With a combination of arugula and some shredded romaine as Easter grass, an egg-shaped serving of crab salad and a few smaller grape tomato and avocado "eggs" your salad plate becomes your salad "basket" for a zesty tangy and quite delicious dish that can be served as a starter or a light meal for Easter or any time.

This recipe can be found in "Nigella Express" on pages 32-33 or at the Food Network site here .

Nigella says, "This is another one of those salads that my husband doesn't notice is a salad and that we eat fairly often at home. Now that I can find good, fresh tubs of crabmeat at the supermarket I can really rely on this as a table and tummy filler when I don't have much time for slow, store-by-specialist-store shopping. The quantities below provide generous amounts for four people, so this is the sort of starter that you can use to save you coming up with enormous amounts later on in the evening. I often halve it for a quick supper for the two of us at home, or when it's me and a girlfriend and a chilled bottle of rose."

Crab and Avocado Salad with Japanese Dressing
"Nigella Express" by Nigella Lawson
(Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a meal)

2 tablespoons mirin
1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Few drops sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon/kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon regular salt
1 long red chile pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 1/4 cups crabmeat
Approximately 1 teaspoon lime juice
5 cups rocket salad
1 ripe avocado
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped chives

In a bowl that will take the crabmeat later, whisk together the mirin, wasabi, rice vinegar, sesame oil and salt. Then remove around 4 teaspoons to another big bowl that will fit your salad in later.

To the first, more generous amount of dressing, add the finely chopped chile and then the crabmeat, and fork through to mix thoroughly.

To the small amount of dressing in the other bowl, add the lime juice and then the salad leaves and toss well to mix before arranging on 4 plates.

Spoon a quarter of the mixture into a regular metal kitchen third-cup measure, squishing down to get it all in, then take it over to a salad-lined plate and unmold in the center of it. Just turn over, tap and the crabmeat should fall out. Continue with the remaining 3/4 of the crabmeat and the 3 other plates.

Using a rounded half spoon measure, scoop out curls or humps of avocado and dot around on top of the salady bits. Spritz with a little lime juice. Sprinkle the chopped chives over the 4 mounds of crab and take the plates to the table.

Notes/Results: Yum! This is a really delicious salad with great flavors. I did add a bit more wasabi and lime because I like strong flavors, but the dressing is really good and light. The avocado adds creaminess and when paired with the crab, makes the salad more of a decadent treat than your run of the mill salad. I bought the packaged crab on sale in the cold case of my grocery store fish department but if you don't want to splurge too much, little shrimp would work or even cooked and shredded chicken breast or canned salmon. I like the tomatoes--not in the original recipe, for their color and the sweetness they add. I will make this salad again.

You can see what the other IHCC participants put in their Easter Baskets by going to the IHCC website here and following the links.

Speaking of Easter treats and baskets, last year I made these naturally-dyed Easter eggs. Messy, slightly smelly but pretty and fun. Here's the link to that post which has the directions for making pink (beets), yellow (turmeric) and blue (purple or red cabbage) eggs if you want to give it a go.

Happy Easter week!
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