Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Avocado Crab Salad with couscous and Greek Salad

Yesterday I had to take the ferry to Vancouver Island to see a specialist so I didn't get back till 5pm.  I didn't want a big meal but I needed something with plenty of vegetables in it. Maybe shrimp salad of some kind.  I stopped at the grocery store on the way home.  Imitation crab was on special.  It isn't as nice as fresh crab, but it's significantly cheaper and might just get by my partner if I tart it up nicely. Decades ago I had an avocado stuffed with fresh crab and alfalfa sprouts that was absolutely delicious so I decided to use that as my starting point for this salad.

By the time I got home I had decided to make 3 salads, greek salad, couscous and avocado crab salad. It took me over an hour to put together three salads so that answers my question "How would I do in Chopped on the Food Network?". I'd get chopped first. In my defense I was creating new dishes by tasting and adding what I thought would help as I went.  If I had a better repertoire of dishes I would have been able to work faster.

I put the couscous on first.  It's easy, bring a small amount of water to a boil, stir in couscous, let cool. The only thing you can do wrong is boil too much water away, leaving crunchy couscous. If so boil a little more water and add it a teaspoon at a time.

I started with a slice of red onion diced and put most in the greek bowl, a little in the couscous and a bit more in the crab. Next I finely diced 4 inches of english cucumber, the skin isn't bitter so it adds a nice dark green to the salad. I used the same technique on the cucumber as a chef would on an onion which worked well an inch and a half at a time. I put a little in the couscous pile, a little more in the crab and the bulk in the greek. I went to the garden and got fresh italian and curly parsley and some golden oregano. I chopped up the parsley and put a little in each of the crab and greek but the bulk of it in the couscous. The oregano I chopped up and put in the greek salad.

I diced up my tomatoes and added them with black olives to the greek.  I got out a chunk of feta and broke it in there also. I juiced a lime and added the juice to the couscous. Next I juiced a lemon and added half to each of the crab and greek bowls.  The acid has to be in the avocado salad first to keep it from turning black.  I had to use a teaspoon to get the avocado out of the skin then dice them up and quickly toss them in the crab citrus.  Finally the imitation crab and alfalfa sprouts were shredded into the crab bowl with a fork.  I chopped up a few chive flowers and stalks into the greek salad and a few green chives into the couscous and crab. To finish off a little extra virgin olive oil to 2/3 cooking oil gives a pleasant flavor.  I find pure extra virgin to be too overpowering on it's own.

It all worked really well.  The cucumber and onion in each salad unified the whole while each salad retained it's unique flavor profile.  We finished the leftovers for breakfast. It was delicious and the imitation crab wasn't a disappointment.

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