Spring is finally in full swing, and great local Quebec products are showing up all over the markets. Crab is easily one of my favourite foods. That’s why fresh snow crab, pulled straight from the Atlantic, is a pretty exciting sight to me. Local asparagus is also just coming into season here in Quebec, which is perfect timing, because asparagus just happens to be a perfect match for crab.
When you are dealing with ingredients as beautiful and fresh as these, you want to dress them up as minimally as possible. Just let their natural flavour shine! The only dressing I use for this salad is olive oil and lemon juice. The seasoning is just salt and pepper with a bit of fresh dill. Yet this dish still packs a flavour punch, all thanks to the grilled asparagus and that amazing snow crab. A little sprinkling of grated hard boiled eggs adds some buttery texture to the salad.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes. Serves 4
4 snow crab sections (2 whole crabs)
2 bunches asparagus
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 bunch fresh dill
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. To prepare the crab, cut a slit along the edge of each leg and use knife to slide the meat out. Cut the body in half and use a fork to remove the meat there. Crack each claw’s shell in half and then remove the bottom part and leave the meat in the shell. Toss the crab meat in 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Season with a bit of chopped dill, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper. Keep refrigerated.
2. Cook the eggs in salted water until they are hard boiled. Chill the eggs in ice water, peel and then separate the yolks from the whites. Use the fine side of a box grater or a Microplane to grate the eggs.
Tip: To avoid having any nasty gray edges on the yolks that can come from overcooking the eggs, I never let the water get to a rolling boil. I keep the water around the temperature of hot coffee. The eggs take longer (about 12 – 15 minutes) but the texture of both the yolks and the white are softer and more buttery when cooked gently.
3. Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for just under 1 minute. Toss in olive oil, salt & pepper and then grill on high heat until just browned.
4. Divide the asparagus among 4 plates, top with crab salad, crab claw & grated egg. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over each plate.
Derek Bocking is a professional chef with over 15 years culinary experience. On his blog, Derek’s Kitchen, he shares restaurant-style recipes for amateur gourmets to try at home, from quick and easy meals to more elaborate showstoppers.