Old Bay Crab Salsa – grab a bag of cantina-style tortilla chips and dig in!
I love salsa. I love tortilla chips. Those are my ‘guilty pleasures’*.
Until a few years ago I would even be happy with the crappy salsa you can pick up in the savory snack aisle – despite the gloopy texture, and lack of any discernible zing or freshness. I don’t have either very often (all. that. sodium), but I really enjoy both.
One of my favourite restaurants in early adulthood was a Mexican one near our closest mall in Tampa Florida, where we would flock in from about 20 miles away. As soon as you sat down the wait staff would offer a big basket of freshly fried tortilla chips to snack on while you perused the menu. My friends and I always knew what we wanted – cheese and bean burrito with guac and pico de gallo for me. But we hemmed and hawed so they would refill the tortilla basket while we “debated” what to get. I still remember the gorgeous masa harina flavour. A flavour that you don’t get much anymore. At least not here in the UK.
I think I loved the pico de gallo as much as the crunchy chips. Thick with fresh vegetables, and heavy with lime and jalapeños, we all loved this freshly made dip. I bet you like this style of salsa too.
Just the other day I was at the supermarket shopping for work. No list for home; all work stuff. In a state of semi-hunger I fatefully walked past the fish counter on the way to the vegetables and saw dressed crabs. With a reduced sticker. The white meat looked so plump overtop the creamier, more strongly flavoured brown. Irresistible. I knew I was looking at lunch. And I immediately thought I would make what you see, crab salsa.
Actually it is more of a pico de gallo rather than a salsa, the latter being much more liquid and smooth. But I think our Google overlords prefer the word salsa. 😉
Making the Crab Salsa
Preparing the crab salsa is super easy. Chop the vegetables uniformly small, but not veering towards mush. You really want some texture: chopped enough to make comfortable eating and to aid scoopability for the all important tortilla chips.
The Crab – I bought a dressed crab which, if you don’t know, is all of the meat taken out of the crab and all bits of shell removed. It’s then packed back in the shell, brown meat on the bottom, and the more attractive white stuff on top. If you are lucky enough to get all white crab meat fairly cheaply that’s the best option. It’s often in little tubs. The brown meat is normally really quite strong, and isn’t my favourite. But happily in this instance the brown part didn’t intrude at all. If you must do it with tinned, go for it, but I’m not sure what they tastes like. Frozen and defrosted crab would be fine I’m sure.
The Seasoning – As the title tells you, I’ve used the seasoning blend Old Bay. I used this fab little spice blend in my recent Jackfruit “Crab Cakes” with Jalapeño Remoulade, and thought it would be an interesting change from the usual Mexican flavourings. The spices in this blend are not in the least bit hot – no chilli. Old Bay was invented just for crabs, so why not add it to this salsa? I’ve included gentle heat with homemade jalapeño pickles (see my Instagram for the recipe – these are far better than bought) but use chopped fresh jalapeño, or even some chilli flakes or powder as your heat source. Plenty of lime juice or lemon balances everything out nicely. Salt is optional – I added seaweed flakes initially but ended up sprinkling in a little salt.
Beyond Tortilla Chips – if you don’t fancy it with tortilla chips (?!), it is great mixed though hot pasta, scooped up with homemade pitta chips, in a grain or lettuce wrap. I bet it would be amazing in a soufflé, too. See below the recipe for even more ideas!
Vegan Option? Really?
Well, it isn’t the same thing at all of course, but good old jackfruit would be a suitable swap, albeit one without much protein. But seeing as it is a snack that probably isn’t much an issue. White beans, very lightly mashed, would be a more protein forward call.
* Per fourth sentence: I don’t do guilty pleasures. And I hope you don’t do that either!
Old Bay Crab Salsa
Mix it up, grab a bag of cantina-style tortilla chips and dig in! xx
250g (9 oz) crab meat, picked over and all bits of shell removed if necessary
4 plum/Roma tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes, cored and diced – keeping the juice if you wish
1/2 medium or small red onion, peeled and diced (I used 1/3 of a large one)
Small bunch cilantro/leaf coriander, chopped (chop stem very finely)
2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeños and a bit of the juice
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning OR 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper, as you desire
Toss everything gently together and either cover tightly and refrigerate or serve right away. This will keep for about 24 hours.
Serving suggestions: with toast points, tortilla chips or pitta chips; wrapped in lettuce leaf or in Gem lettuce cups; on a larger leafy salad; in an avocado “boat”; tossed through hot or cold pasta or quinoa; folded into an omelette.
Vegan option: use jackfruit or beans in place of the crab meat.
**Remember to follow me on Pinterest and, if you make my Old Bay Crab (or Jackfruit!) Salsa, click on the pin below and leave a photo of your make with a comment telling me what you think, or any awesome changes that you made. Whether on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or of course here on the blog, I love to see what you do with my recipes, and I welcome your comments, tweaks and suggestions.**
RIPE FOR PINNING!