Sautéed Crab with Avocado, Grapefruit, and Herb Salad

  • Serves

    serves 4-6


Crabmeat is rubbed with a smoky chile paste, then sautéed and tossed in a refreshing salad of creamy avocado, tart grapefruit, and herbs. This recipe first appeared in our December 2013 issue along with Corey Arnold's article Polar Harvest.


  • 2 lb. precooked king or snow crabmeat, defrosted if frozen and cut into 3" pieces
  • 4 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed
  • 4 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 14 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados
  • 1 cup packed chervil leaves and tender stems
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 cup packed watercress leaves and tender stems
  • 13 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Ruby Red grapefruit, peeled and segmented


Step 1

Pat crab dry with paper towels and place in a bowl. Place chiles in another bowl; cover with 2 cups boiling water and let sit until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving ½ cup soaking liquid. Transfer chiles and soaking liquid, plus cumin, cloves, garlic, and salt to a blender; purée into a smooth paste. Gently toss crab with chile paste until completely coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; chill 30 minutes.

Step 2

Halve, pit, and peel avocados; slice crosswise about ¼" thick and transfer to a bowl. Add chervil, cilantro, parsley, and watercress; set aside.

Step 3

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook crab, gently stirring occasionally, until browned, 6–8 minutes. Transfer crab to avocado and herb salad. Add remaining oil, plus lime juice, grapefruit, salt, and pepper; toss gently to combine.

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