Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shrimp, Crab and Avocado Salad

Two of my absolute favourite vacation spots are Maine and Cape Cod.  Absolutely beautiful!  Apart from the breathtaking scenery and warm people, the food is to die for – especially the seafood.  A couple of summers ago, we had a beach house in Maine where down the street from us was the “Fishin’ Optician” – optician by day, lobster trapper and salesman by night – talk about wearing your different hats!  What a treat it was to have a lobster from ocean to plate in less than 30 minutes!  We couldn’t believe how soft the shells were – we could practically crack it open with our hands!  I must also mention Ogunquit which is a charming Maine town that has some of the best lobster rolls around.  Whether it’s in a restaurant or from a seaside shack, these rolls are simply glorious.  And they are ubiquitous both in Maine and in Cape Cod.

Like Maine, The Cape also has seafood shacks.  Fried clams with the “bellies” on are both crisp and gooey – an incredible mouth feel that brings your taste buds into gustatory ecstasy.  And don’t even get me started on Wellfleet Oysters – possibly, hands down the sweetest most succulent oyster Cameraman Dave and I have ever had!  We’ve occasionally laid our hands on some of these babies in Toronto at the St. Lawrence Market – but the Wellfleets from sea to lips have me dreaming of half shells with lemon and Tabasco!

With all of my seafood nostalgia, I needed a quick fix with what I had on hand.  OK, confession…  This is no where near the experiences as noted above but a crustacean induced hankering requires quick action!  I had shrimp and canned crab on hand (no comparison to fresh, I know but this was a craving, you understand).  Here’s your mantra: “There is no shame in shortcuts… there is no shame in shortcuts.”  I like the avocado in this recipe for some interspersed hit of creamy texture.  You can add celery to it for a bit of crunch, if you like.  I used dried tarragon because I was too lazy to go to the store but you can certainly use a couple of tablespoons of the fresh stuff instead.  

If you’re counting carbs, what a delicious and satisfying meal this would make.  It’s a great salad to eat all on its very own.  As an homage to the lobster roll, try toasting some hot dog buns (the kind with the top middle split), buttering them and stuffing with this mixture.  If you make it a main, this recipe will serve 2 or will be enough filling for 4 generous rolls.  Heeeaveeeen!!!

Here's what you'll need:
                            About 2 dozen medium sized 
                            cooked shrimp (tail off)
                            2 cans crabmeat
                            1 avocado
                            1/2 C mayonnaise
                            1 T dried tarragon, rubbed*
                            2 T chopped chives 
                            *("rubbed" means passing it through your palms to crush)
 Place shrimp and well drained crab into a large bowl.
Chop your avocado into bite sized pieces, about 1/2 inch.
Don't worry about being too precise.
Add avocado to bowl along with tarragon & chopped chives.
Add mayonnaise. 
Gently toss with spoon until everything 
is mixed through and well coated.
Serve it up as is or in a toasted buttered hotdog bun.
Sip on a cold beer, white wine spritzer or Cape Codder!
Can't you just feel the ocean breeze while you eat this?
Dare to share!