A delicate salad made with crab meat, lime and coriander, paired with a refreshing watermelon and vanilla gazpacho. Make this elegant restaurant style dish for your next special occasion! We show you step by step how to recreate it in your very own kitchen.
This dish has long been on my restaurant menus, especially during the summer months. Delicate and light, the crab salad is mixed with only a few ingredients and sits on a small watermelon disc.
Served with a chilled watermelon gazpacho, cooked with vanilla and reduced to intensify the flavours, this dish is sure to hit the right spots! In the restaurant, we had the waiter pour the gazpacho at the table, you can do the same at home for a restaurant style experience!
Don't be fooled by the intimidating looks, the recipe below is easy to follow and the dish is great to prepare ahead of time. Add this dish as a light appetizer to your next special menu and follow our steps to make it look just like mine!
WHICH CRAB MEAT VARIETY TO USE
Nothing beats cooking fresh crab meat, breaking the shell and eating the sweet meat straight away but you will be able to buy good quality crab meat that has been picked already. Personally, I prefer to use local spanner crab meat for this dish.
Elsewhere they compare to snow, Dungeness or King crab. Stone crab or mud crab are delicious too and packed with large chunks of crab meat. Whatever you choose to use, try to buy sustainable.
The ingredients to make this recipe:
Crab meat-as mentioned above, I used fresh spanner crab meat for this dish as this is what was locally available to me. Choose your crab meat wisely.
Watermelon-fresh watermelon, preferably seedless. Look for a ripe fruit with dark red flesh. To spot a sweet watermelon tap from the outside, if the sound comes back hollow it means it is ripe.
Lime-for freshness and to balance out the sweetness, it can be replaced with lemon.
Coriander- to add fresh flavour to the dish. But you can use micro coriander as well if you just want to decorate the plate. Other herbs that you could use are chives or shiso.
Radish- Use Red radish or white radish (daikon) for decoration. Another great option could be thinly sliced cucumber.
Mayonnaise-freshly made or store bought mayonnaise. If you buy it, choose your preferred brand. If you want, replace mayonnaise with creme fraiche or sour cream.
Vanilla-I used a whole vanilla bean for the gazpacho! You can use vanilla paste or essence too. Vanilla pairs well with crab due to its delicate flavour but if you prefer not to use it, just leave it out.
TO MAKE THE WATERMELON GAZPACHO
What is gazpacho?
It's a classic cold Spanish soup, traditionally made with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and garlic. However my version is non traditional but the reason I call this watermelon soup a watermelon gazpacho, is because it looks similar to the famous Andalusian tomato gazpacho.
To make the watermelon soup, let's start with preparing the garnish!
Preparing the garnish
To do that, cut 4 slices about 1 cm/0.4 inch thick from the largest part of the watermelon. Use a medium size ring cutter and cut discs from the watermelon slices - I served 2 per plate.
Making the watermelon soup
Now remove the green part from the remaining watermelon and pass it through the juicer. Pour the watermelon juice in a pot and add the vanilla. If you use a vanilla bean, cut the pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.
Add lime juice to the watermelon-vanilla and bring to a simmer. To get maximum flavour from the ingredients, we need to reduce the soup slowly to about half. Thereafter, chill the soup and remove the vanilla pod.
TO MAKE THE CRAB SALAD
Being a chef, some habits die hard! I always double check for crab shells left in the crab meat with my hands. It's worth checking because the last thing you want is your guests biting on them.
Next, season the crab meat with grated lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice for that zing.
Add a bit of mayonnaise for creaminess and chopped coriander for freshness. And that's all that you need for this fresh crab salad.
Keep plate up last on your to-do list as we will do this just before serving!
Have the gazpacho ready in a pouring jug in the fridge and pre-slice the radish as thin as possible. Keep these aside until plate up.
Now, what should we serve the dish in? Well, I recommend using a wide salad bowl to serve this dish rather than a deep soup bowl as we want the gazpacho to be visible!
Like in the pictures below, place two watermelon discs inside each bowl. Use a fork to lift the crab meat, this ensures there is no excess liquid. Now place a generous amount of the crab salad on top of each watermelon disc.
Cover the salad with the radish slices and transfer the gazpacho into a small glass jug if you are pouring the soup for your guests.
Pouring the chilled soup at the table is a nice touch but if you prefer pouring the soup already in the bowl, it will be equally nice!
It's currently summer here in Australia, which makes this dish ideal for any special occasion menu - think Valentine's day, mother's day, birthday or just a lunch or dinner party at home!
If you don't have a juicer the best method is to use a smoothie or stick blender instead. Mix the watermelon flesh without the rind in a blender and then strain. You might have to add a bit water to get it to start blending.
The crab meat can be kept for 2-3 days in the fridge in an airtight container. As with most seafood make sure the crab is not kept outside too long while you make the salad.
MORE ELEGANT SEAFOOD APPETIZERS
If you have been with us for sometime, you know we love our seafood! Here are few more seafood appetizers for you to try! They all come with step by step recipes and we even show you how to plate them up.
prawn and avocado soup a refreshing, delicate chilled soup, simply made with green apple, avocado, coconut cream and lime and served with tiger prawns
hamachi crudo the Italian version of raw fish sashimi, simple but delicious
salmon tartar is a modern version of tartare! Salmon cubes marinated in a tangy Asian dressing, paired with fresh mango and coriander
scallop with miso is one of our top performing recipes! Oven baked scallops cooked in their shell with red miso and ginger butter, makes it a light and flavourful appetizer
oysters raw & cooked Nothing says delicacy quite like a platter of fresh oysters right? So why not create your own and impress the shell out of your friends and loved ones!
Spoilt for choice, aren't you😉 Honestly, I cannot wait to see which recipe/s you will pick to recreate! Whichever you choose, do share with me! A comment and star rating on the recipe will be a great way to do that!
Crab and Lime Salad with Watermelon Gazpacho
- small pot
- micro grater
- mixing bowl
- 150 gram picked crab meat
- ¼ watermelon (1.5kg/3.3lb)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon chopped coriander
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- sea salt to taste
- for the watermelon disc and gazpacho
- Cut 4 slices about 1 cm/0.4 inch thick from the largest part of the watermelon. Use a medium size ring cutter and cut 8 small discs from the watermelon slices and set aside.
- Remove the green part from the remaining watermelon and pass it through the juicer. Pour the watermelon juice in a pot. Cut the vanilla bean pod lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Add both to the watermelon juice.
- Add lime juice to the watermelon-vanilla and bring to a simmer. Reduce the soup slowly to about half. Once the soup has reduced enough, remove the vanilla pod and chill in the fridge.
for the crab salad
- Double check that there are no shells remaining in the crab meat by feeling it with your hands
- Season the crab meat with grated lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice. Add the mayonnaise and chopped coriander and mix well. Set aside.
for the garnish and plate up
- Slice the radish on a mandoline as thin as possible.
- For plate up, place two watermelon discs in each bowl. Use a fork to ensure there is no excess liquid, place a generous amount of the crab salad on top of each disc.
- Cover the salad with the radish slices and pour the gazpacho in a small glass jug.
- It is a nice touch to pour the chilled soup at the table but it can also be served with the soup already in the bowl.