I was really craving a fresh seafood salad after all the Thanksgiving leftovers last week, and what a perfect salad it turned out to be! I headed to the Fish Peddler, my go-to seafood market here in Fort Lauderdale. As you walk through the (bell jingling) door you’re greeted with a burst of air smelling of the sea and one of the best looking seafood cases I’ve had the pleasure to shop at. They have tons of local seafood, always super fresh. This place is bustling with newly inspired customers and an extremely knowledgeable staff always happy to see you, and if that isn’t enough they offer you free lemon or lime take home in your bag.
This salad is another good example of using up what you have on hand. I usually have cucumbers, tropical fruit, lettuce of some kind, mixed herbs in the garden, avocado, citrus and a loaf of fresh bread…the salad came together pretty quick. All I needed to pick up was the crab. It’s about improvising, using what you have and rounding out the flavors and textures. If you don’t have a lime – use a lemon or grapefruit. No pumpernickel? Use sourdough. No hearts of palm? Use artichoke hearts. You get the idea…be creative and don’t let yourself be confined to the recipe. Although there are lots of different flavors here, you can taste each one while not overpowering the other – that’s what you’re looking for. Play around with the proportions of ingredients here if you need to, you want the crab to shine and the other flavors to play second chair. I wanted a light dressing to coat the salad and didn’t want to use mayonnaise, so I simply pureed an avocado with some coconut water (not to be confused with the thicker, heavier coconut milk), lime juice, a pinch of coriander and sea salt – I had heavy cream left over from the holiday so I splashed a touch in as well. Yum. By slicing the pumpernickel bread super thin it makes a much lighter – wafer like crouton to crumble into the size you like (which won’t take away from the delicate nature of this salad like a larger cubed crouton would). This salad can be plated up or down by making a composed salad on individual plates for a more formal dinner salad, or dice everything up like a chopped salad and serve it on a bed of lettuce for a less formal option. Either way is beautiful and Delicious.