Summer is finally here and the weather is getting warmer and warmer and our food needs to be cooler and cooler. During the hot days of summer appetites tend to wane. What better way to eat healthy and delicious food than to create summer salads. Produce is at its best and seafood goes well with many types of produce, so let’s make Seafood Salads for dinner, lunch or whatever! Tonight’s Salad was a King Crab Salad. Even though I used King Crab Legs, Dungeness Crab or Snow Crab can be substituted. Shrimp can even take the place of Crab or if you are lucky enough to live in Maine, try Lobster right out of the ocean!
My salad tonight consisted of Baby Golden Beets from the Farmer’s Market along with Persian Cucumbers, Red Bell Pepper and fresh Tomatoes from the Garden.
The Crab was cooked when I purchased it so all I had to do was remove it from the shell. King Crab has thick, spiny shells and does take a little effort to be removed. The best way to do this is to use your kitchen shears and cut right down the length of the leg. If you have the Claws, this will take a Crab Cracker or a Nut Cracker to get the meat out. Once you have the meat out of the crab, you may want to rinse if off with cold water and then blot is dry with paper towels or clean dish towels. Check through the meat to make sure there are no pieces of shell or cartilage in it. Put the Crab aside, (In the refrigerator is best) while you prepare the Vegetables for your Salad.
Scrub the Beets with a Potato Brush to remove clinging soil and then place in a saucepan; cover them with Cold Water and add a teaspoon or so of Salt. Place the lid on the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, shut off the heat and let the beets stand in the hot water, with the lid covering the pan. While you are preparing the rest of the Salad, the Beets will continue to cook – they don’t have to be cooked all the way – a little texture adds to the taste appeal. Save the cooking liquid to use in soup or as the liquid for cooking other foods. You will notice that there is a lot of color in the water and this color contains some of the Water Soluble Vitamins that leached out during the cooking process.
I julienned the Beets with the 6 x 6 blade or French Fry Blade in my Food Processor. You can also do this by hand or with a large holed grater.
Wash, dry and slice any other Vegetables that you intend to use in the Salad. I used Persian Cucumbers. The skin on Persian Cucumbers is mild so that they do not have to peeled. However, they do have to washed and dried. Cut off the tops and discard and then slice them whichever way you prefer. I sliced them down the middle and then half into 1/4″ slices. (Since Persian Cucumbers are small, I usually allow one per person however, one half per person would do too.
I also used diced Red Bell Pepper and a little bit of Cilantro.
Included with the Vegetables was a tiny Pasta I bought for soups. This helped to add body to the salad and of course extended it somewhat. After the Pasta was cooked and rinsed to remove the excess starch, I dried it in a clean dish towel before adding it to the salad. One cup of dried Pasta was more than enough for the two of us.
Once all your Vegetables are prepped combine them with the Crab and then toss with the Dressing. If you are using Pasta add it at this time also. The dressing was Thousand Island mixed with a little aged Balsamic Vinegar.
Freshly quartered Tomatoes that were just picked from the garden that morning were added as a garnish. (Note: tomatoes are sweeter if picked in the morning than later in the day – at night the starch is converted to sugar and during the day through photosynthesis the sugar is converted back to starch, therefore giving you a sweeter product if picked I the morning.)