Tuesday, September 7, 2010

West Indies Salad

One time, when I was in Birmingham, Alabama visiting Clare's parents, they made a great crab salad known  as a West Indies Salad.  According to legend, a restaurateur named Bill Bayley created the salad in 1947.  Bayley claimed to have thought of the salad while sailing through the West Indies.  Bayley made the West Indies salad and sold it at his restaurant/store, aptly called Bayleys.

I used a recipe from Saveur.com to make this dish, which is very easy to make.  It involves the layering of finely diced onion and crab, which marinates in a mixture of ice cold water, vegetable oil and cider vinegar.  The salad should be served on a bed of lettuce with crackers, like stoned wheat thins.  The next time I make this salad, I might add a few of my own "twists," such as a pinch or two of crushed red pepper.

Serves many

1 pound of jumbo lump crab meat
1 sweet onion, diced finely
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
Black pepper, to taste
Salt to taste

1.  Marinate the crab.  Line the bottom of a bowl or dish with half of the diced onion.  Then add the crab meat.  Spread the remaining onion over the crab meat.  Add the cider vinegar to the water and then add the oil, whisking it all together.  Drizzle the mixture over the crab meat and onions.  Let it rest in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight.

2.  Prepare the salad.  When you are ready to serve it, gently mix the salad.  Place some leaves of lettuce on a plate and spoon the salad over it.  Serve with crackers.

Tip of the hat to Frank and Geri Savage.  For those who want to know more about Bayley, check out the following website.


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