The Crab: Good with Mayo, Bad with Monogamy

Mating for life: an interesting concept. I’ve always found it intriguing the variety of species that will stick with one partner. (This is one odd top ten list, so brace yourself.) 1. Swans. 2. Termites 3. Turtle Doves 4. Black Vultures 5. French Angel Fish 6. Penguins 7. Albatrosses 8. Bald Eagles 9. Wolves 10. Worms

During my research, I also found that rodents are quite promiscuous, though I suppose it makes sense given their disease-carrying reputation. Interestingly enough, the blue crab is stuck somewhere in between. A female crab mates only once in her life, while the male continues to mate with other she-crabs. Hmmm.

Blue crab season ironically coincides with wedding season. We humans have the option to choose whether we will mate for life and—whatever the decision—it’s okay as long as you find someone with the same view. Simple concept, but it tends to get a little sticky, as our intellectual capabilities are a bit more complicated than that of the blue crab. Case in point: lately I’ve been surrounded by a boatload of people getting married and others getting divorced. Personally, I adore the idea of having a life buddy to pal around with, through the good times and bad soufflés. I also understand that not everyone is lucky enough to have that. And that’s okay.

The good news: no matter what happens in life, food provides unwavering support. It is there to have and to hold: to comfort and to energize, to cook and to eat. Whatever the mood, there is always a food—somewhere out there—to match. And on this particular day, I was feeling crab salad. I was also feeling like a puffer fish, recently back from a friend’s bachelorette weekend in Florida. I needed something decidedly “light” for dinner. And so I hustled my swollen body to the Copley Square farmers’ market on my lunch break, in search of vegetables to aid in the de-bloating process.

At the Atlas Farm stand, I found some lovely French breakfast radishes and purple scallions. The colors were so vibrant that as I walked back to work, it looked like I was carrying a bouquet. I chuckled as I thought how nicely the hot pink radishes would pair with a crisp white wedding dress, apparently still having my prior wedding-filled weekend on the brain. (And perhaps triggering me to put the therapist back on speed dial.)

Alas, I am decidedly like a black vulture when it comes to my mating habits. Or perhaps more appropriately: an albatross, given her crustacean diet. As for our dear friend, the crab? Well, I ate him and perhaps a few of his buddies. I don’t agree with their skewed social views, but they make one hell of a marriage when partnered with mayonnaise.

Crab Salad

12 ounces shelled crab (fresh or about 2 cans if fresh is unavailable)
2 scallions, sliced
2 radishes, diced
3 sprigs each of tarragon, lemon verbena and dill, minced
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp mayo
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp grainy mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.

Serves 4.


The bite of the radishes and scallions is a great contrast to the sweetness of the crab, but if you are looking to tone down the intensity you could always substitute more mellow vegetables, like red peppers and celery.

The crab salad was great on top of greens to help balance out the debauchery of the past weekend, though putting it on a brioche bun would be decadent.

Blue crabs are currently fairly sustainable. For more info on sustainable seafood check out Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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