The March/April season always remind me of my son’s first trip to France. Only 5 months old at the time, it was a joyous trip to see the grandparents. Subsequent years we have been fortunate to spend Easter celebrations together – either in Cannes or on this side of the Atlantic. One special family dish usually graces the table as the first course:crab rice salad with crevettes. Wonderful in its simplicity and elegance, the key to this recipe is always to use the best quality crabmeat one can find. Whether it be top quality canned crab from Russia, from Phillips Crab House in Baltimore or directly out of the Chesapeake Bay itself, rich premium crabmeat makes all the difference. A good hit of cayenne pepper (or other type such as szechuan pepper) adds the needed note of heat and complexity. Serve on a platter encircled with sunny yellow deviled eggs or shape the salad into the form of a fish for Easter (use a black olive slice to make an eye) and surround with cherry tomato halves.
Recipe for Crab Rice Salad with Baby Shrimp
1 cup dry white rice, cooked but still “toothsome”
10 oz good quality lump or backfin crabmeat, well drained and picked for shells
4 TBSP mayonnaise
1/2 scant TBSP Dijon mustard
2-3 dashescayenne or szechuan pepper (go very easy first, you can add more in need)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 lb baby shrimp, cooked
2 TBSP flat leaf Italian parsley, minced (garnish)
Cook 1 cup dry white rice as per usual. When still warm (but not hot), add crabmeat, mayo, Dijon, lemon juice and pepper (to taste). Crab already has a nice “sea salt” flavor but add salt to taste if needed. Check consistency and add more mayo a tsp at a time if needed. Arrange in a mound on an oval platter. Top with cooked shrimp. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until serving. When ready to eat, surround with deviled eggs or cherry tomato halves and sprinkle with parsley. Makes 5/6 appetizer portions.