Cooking Spree: Stacked Crab Bistro Salad

      Stacked Crab Bistro Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

      by spree on February 9, 2012


      3 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
      2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
      1 Tablespoon honey
      1 small garlic, minced
      1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
      Pinch kosher salt
      1/3 cup canola oil
      1/2 cup chopped cilantro

      To make ahead, put all ingredients except the oil & the cilantro in a blender. Process until well blended. With blender running, slowly add the canola oil in a stream, processing until dressing has become creamy. Refrigerate, and hold until just before preparing the rest of the salad. Return the dressing to the blender and add the cilantro, processing until the vinaigrette is a deep green with small flecks of cilantro throughout. Set aside as you prepare the salad. (You'll have extra vinaigrette.)

      The salad:

      1 ripe smallish avocado, halved, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
      1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch dice
      1/4 of an English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, tiny seeds removed, cut into 1/4-inch dice
      1/2 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch dice
      1/4 pound lump crabmeat
      fresh chives, 1 Tablespoon finely chopped

      What else you'll need: PVC pipe 3-inch diameter x 4-inches tall OR a 15-oz tin can, top and bottom removed, to stack the salad in (if making more than 2 salads, it's best to have molds for each to facilitate fast construction. These salads want to be served very soon after they're made.)

      Prepare ahead of time if desired: Dice the bell pepper & English cucumber. Put in small bowls, cover and refrigerate. Dice the mango and squirt well with lime juice, toss to coat thoroughly. (To prevent discoloration overnight.) The rest of the salad can be easily assembled day of.

      Pick over the crabmeat, making sure no small shells remain. Prepare the avocado. With each item separate in its own little bowl, toss gently with 1 Tablespoon of the prepared vinaigrette. (DO NOT DRESS the crab.)


      Place the mold upright on a salad plate.

      Drop about half of the avocado inside the mold and gently press down. Add half the red bell pepper. Gently press. Then the cucumber. Then mango. Last of all the crabmeat. Gently remove the molds by lifting up and away. Drizzly a bit more dressing around the plate. Scatter with chives.

      Or perhaps you'd like to adorn with a single orchid blossom.