As summer begins to heat up here in Florida and around the the country, I find myself drawn to crisp, clean salads for dinner. One of my favorites to order out at the Lynnhaven FIsh House in Virginia Beach at their Pier Cafe over looking the Chesapeake Bay is their Fresh Seafood Tower. It has fresh local blue crab and shrimp layer between mango salsa and a cilantro lime salad with basil oil and roasted pepper coulis that make the flavors pop.
I also love their Seashore Salad (pictured on the right) that features layers of crab and shrimp, fresh, avocado and tomato on a bed of lettuce with hard boiled eggs for garnish.
Presentation of these salads is part of the allure but it is their fresh, clean flavors that made me crave them at home. The result? My own spin on a crab salad stack.
I also love these adorable mason jars with handles. You can label with your guests names for a great summer picnic presentation.
Now on to the recipe…..
My version adds a Thai twist to the salad with a sweet chili & ginger vinaigrette drizzled over the top.
Fresh Summer Crab Stack
4 mason jars
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons lime juice or a mix of lime and either orange or grapefruit
1 clove of garlic minced
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1 cup cucumber, seeds removed and diced
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced mango
1 cup diced orange bell pepper
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, blue crab preferred
1 cup of small cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail off (optional)
1 cup diced avocado, sprinkled with lime juice
2 tablespoon minced cilantro
Sriracha, for garnish, to taste
Combine dressing ingredients, stirring to combine, and refrigerate while you prepare the salad layers. Cut the vegetables, mango and avocado into similar size cubes (dice). Consistent sizes will improve the presentation and also help ensure you get a little pieces of more of the salad components in each bite.
Tightly layer 1/4 of the vegetables, shrimp, mango and crab into each of the 4 mason jars. Then add a avocado layer to each, being more gentle with avocado so not to mash the avocado.
Remove dressing from the refrigerator and stir to recombine, as necessary. Stir in cilantro. Slowly drizzle the dressing over the crab stacks in the mason jars. Be sure to coat the avocado with the dressing to help prevent browning. Cover with the jar lids. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Drizzle with Sriracha just before serving.