This light, refreshing Crab Salad Recipe features real crab meat, hand-picked from sustainably caught Blue Swimming crabs. It’s served over a bed of frisée lettuce with baby arugula, orange segments, fresh fennel, and an orange citrus vinaigrette.
Crab is one of our favorite proteins of all time, and while we love it in any form (crab cake benedict, anyone?), it is unquestionably the star of the show here. The freshly picked crab meat has a sweet, clean, buttery flavor (highlighted by the sweetness of orange segments) and delicate, flaky texture.
This salad makes for an elegant appetizer or lunch and will fill you up without weighing you down!
Ingredients For Crab Salad
We’re using a mix of frisée lettuce and baby arugula (or arugula microgreens, if you can get your hands on them!) as the base of the crab salad recipe.
Top the lettuce with orange segments, thinly sliced fennel, sustainable, high quality Jumbo Lump crab meat, and fresh herbs (fresh dill and chives or green onions) for garnish. The crab salad is drizzled with an orange citrus vinaigrette then served with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
You will be so impressed by the flavor! When you use high quality ingredients, the taste shines through.
For this simple citrus vinaigrette, you’ll need extra virgin olive oil, fresh orange juice, fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, thinly sliced chives, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Place everything in a measuring cup or a mason jar with a tight lid, then either stir well or shake until emulsified. This will keep in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If it solidifies, just let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so to liquify again.
How To Make Crab Salad
There’s a couple things to know before working with these ingredients that will help make salad prep a breeze!
What is frisée and how do I clean it?If you’ve never worked withfrisée lettucebefore, you’re in for a treat! Wash then dry the frisée before beginning. Trim and discard the root end of the lettuce, then simply use your hands to pull apart and separate the lettuce leaves into smaller, bite size pieces.
How to segment an orange: for this crab salad recipe, you’ll LOVE the addition of sweet orange segments. We allot 1 orange for every 2 guests, but there is no shame in upping that number! Cut off a tiny bit from the top and bottom of the orange so that it will stand upright on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice under the peel and the pith (in a rounded motion), exposing the flesh of the orange. Finally, carefully hold the ‘naked’ orange in your hand, then slice between each membrane to release the segments.
The segmented orange remains can be used for the salad dressing! Squeeze any excess juice from the segmented orange to be used in the dressing. It is juicy!
Use high quality crab! We have used and loved North Coast Seafoods Culinary Reserve for years! Their seafoods are all sustainably caught, high-quality, and frozen fresh. You can taste the difference!
At this point, it’s about layering and plating everything together. Alternatively, you can assemble in a large bowl, toss with the homemade vinaigrette, then serve family-style!
You can also use lump crab meat (broken pieces of jumbo flake and smaller flake pieces from the body of the crab), super lump (from the smaller and broken pieces of jumbo lump), or colossal crab meat (which comes from the largest, unbroken lumps muscles from the crab’s swimming legs).
They range in price point, but all hail from Blue Swimming Crabs. These crabs are steamed immediately, then their meat is hand-picked, chilled, and packaged. This is the brand of pasteurized crab meat we have been purchasing (and loving!) for years. The crab has a sweet, buttery taste and a delicate, flaky texture. Plus, it’s Certified Heart Healthy by the American Heart Association. Tastes great and is healthy? Yes, please! If you can’t find Culinary Reserve crab meats locally, they’re available for nationwide next-day delivery directly from North Coast’s website!
Eating this salad will make you feel transported to a fine French restaurant, which was certainly the goal, as the inspiration for this salad comes from Faubourg, a local restaurant in Montclair, NJ. It’s elegant, yet simple, and sure to be the star of any meal.
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice (about ½ an orange -- pro tip: use the segmented orange remains to squeeze out fresh orange jucie!)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp chives (thinly sliced)
½ tsp Kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
The Crab Salad
1 small head of frisée lettuce (root trimmed, leaves separated into smaller pieces)
1 cup baby arugula (or microgreens)
1 (16 oz) can North Coast Seafood Jumbo Lump Crab Meat (drained of any excess liquid)
2 large oranges (peeled and cut into segments)
1 bulb fennel (peeled, core removed, and thinly sliced into half moons)
2 Tbsp chives (thinly sliced, for serving)
2 Tbsp fresh dill (for serving)
Flaky sea salt (for serving)
Make the citrus vinaigrette
Combine ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp orange juice, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 Tbsp chives, ½ tsp Kosher salt, and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper in a measuring cup or mason jar with tight fitting lid.
Either stir well or shake until emulsified. Set aside.
Begin assembling the salad
On a large serving platter (or individual plates), place an even layer of frisée lettuce leaves, separated into small pieces with your hands.
Place ¼ cup of baby arugula or micro greens on top.
Divide the orange segments evenly between all plates, add the thinly sliced fennel, then carefully add jumbo lump crab pieces.
Dress the salad, then serve
Drizzle the salad dressing on top, then sprinkle with sliced chives, chopped fresh dill, and a generous pinch of flaky sea salt. Serve immediately!