Grilled Softshell Crabs with Jicama Salad and Tomato–Avocado Salsa

  • Serves

    serves 4

Chef Rick Bayless, founder of the famed Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago, prepared this dish by simply grilling softshell crabs and serving them with a crunchy slaw made of jicama, a root vegetable with a flavor reminiscent of fresh water chestnuts.


  • 1 medium jicama, peeled and julienned
  • 3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and julienned
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Salt
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3 serrano chiles, seeded, if desired, and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 8 softshell crabs, cleaned
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


Step 1

Combine jicama, cucumber, and 1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro in a medium bowl. Dress with 4 tbsp. olive oil and 4 tbsp. lime juice. Season to taste with salt, mix well, and set aside.

Step 2

In a separate bowl, combine tomatoes, chiles, garlic, onions, avocado, and remaining chopped cilantro. Dress with remaining lime juice, season with salt, and mix gently; set aside.

Step 3

Lightly brush a hot grill or grill pan with 1 tbsp. oil. Brush crabs with remaining 2 tbsp. oil, then place on grill and cook until firm, about 2 minutes on each side. To serve, divide jicama salad and tomato-avocado salsa among four plates. Top each plate with 2 crabs and garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.

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