A Must-Try Crab Salad Recipe with a Japanese Twist

July 3, 2014

Crab season officially opens today in Seattle and we're dropping pots in hopes to pull up a dinner of Dungeness ("Dungies" as we locals call them)! For dinner inspiration we turned to our friend Cynthia Nims, culinary consultant and author of numerous cookbooks including the Northwest-inspired e-book series. In her Northwest Crab e-cookbook, Cynthia showcases the flavors of the Pacific Rim in a delicious, perfect-for-summer cucumber and daikon radish sunomono salad with crab. Give it a try this weekend and be sure to download the entire e-cookbook (it's only $3.50!) for more can't-miss crab recipes! She'll give you tips on how to prepare and cook crab, some interesting cultural and historical information about our favorite crustacean, as well at 10 tasty recipes for every meal of the day.

Cucumber and Daikon Sunomono with Crab
From Crab in The Northwest Cookbooks e-series courtesy of author Cynthia Nims

Makes 4 to 6 servings

The fresh crunch and flavor of cucumber and daikon radish make this an exceptionally refreshing salad, similar to the cucumber sunomono often served at the start of a Japanese meal. Try to find crab that is in nice, plump portions for this salad, to make the most of the contrast between the sweet, meaty crab and the crisp, vinegary vegetables. Picking the meat from a freshly cooked crab may be the best way to be sure that you get large enough pieces, rather than purchasing it bulk, when the meat is often more flaked.

Shiso, sometimes known as perilla, is an herb related to mint and basil that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. Its vivid green leaves, with their distinctly toothed edges, are also a common garnish on plates of sushi and sashimi. (There is also a purple shiso, which has leaves that are green on top and purple underneath; its flavor is a little milder than the green shiso.) The subtle anise-mint flavor adds a wonderful herbal quality to the salad, though you could use mint in its place.

1 large English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 small daikon radish (about 8 ounces), peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 small sweet onion, finely julienned
1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt or flaky sea salt
5 to 6 shiso leaves, finely julienned
8 ounces crabmeat, preferably whole leg/claw pieces

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, daikon and onion and toss to mix evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir the dressing until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables, toss well and set aside for 15 minutes let them absorb some of the vinegar dressing, stirring a few times. (If the vegetables sit too long, they will begin to lose some of their crispness; the salad is best made shortly before serving.)

Drain off the dressing into a small dish, then add the shiso to the vegetables and toss to mix evenly. Arrange the vegetables on individual chilled plates and top with the pieces of crabmeat. Drizzle some of the reserved dressing over all and serve right away.

**Download The Northwest Crab e-book here and be sure to check out Cynthia's other amazing books here!

Image Sources: