During the cold winter months, both fresh crab and citrus are at their best, which makes this brightly colored salad the perfect choice for a dreary winter day. You can buy freshly cooked crabmeat at most fish markets and upscale grocers. If you prefer to cook live crabs, you will need two to three 1-lb. (500-g) crabs, as each will yield about 4 oz. (125 g) of meat.
Crab and Shrimp Salad with Avocado and Oranges
For the marinated onions:
1 small red onion, cut crosswise into slices 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) red wine vinegar
Large pinch of kosher salt
Large pinch of sugar
12 to 18 large shrimp in the shell
2 large navel oranges
1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
Salt and ground white pepper
6 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches watercress, tough stems removed
1 head red-leaf lettuce, leaves separated and torn into large pieces
8 to 12 oz. (250 to 375 g) cooked crabmeat, picked over for shell fragments
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
To make the marinated onions, in a bowl, combine the onion, vinegar, salt and sugar. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to soften and mellow the flavor of the onion. Drain and set aside.
Put the shrimp in a steamer basket and place over boiling water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. (The water should not touch the bottom of the basket.) Cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam until the shrimp are evenly pink, about 2 minutes, stirring once if needed. Remove from the heat and let cool. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail segments intact if desired.
Grate the zest of one of the oranges, then use a knife to peel and segment both oranges, catching and reserving the juices.
To make a dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the sherry vinegar, the 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice, 1 Tbs. of the reserved orange juice and salt and white pepper to taste. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a little more lemon juice if needed.
In a large bowl, combine the watercress and lettuce. Add all but 2 Tbs. of the dressing and toss to combine. Transfer the salad greens to a large, shallow bowl or platter or 4 individual bowls. Arrange the crab, shrimp, orange segments and avocado cubes over and around the greens and drizzle the remaining dressing over them. Scatter the marinated onion over, sprinkle with the orange zest and serve. Serves 4 to 6.
Find more vibrant and versatile salads for every season in our
cookbook Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan.