Grilled Softshell Crabs with Jicama Salad and Tomato–Avocado Salsa

by0| PUBLISHED Mar 6, 2007 10:00 AM
Grilled Softshell Crabs with Jicama Salad and Tomato–Avocado Salsa

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.

Yield: serves 4


  • 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


  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.
  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.
  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.