Everyone knows that crab legs go perfectly with drawn (melted) butter, especially if it had lemon and garlic in it. But what do you do if you are craving that combo in a lighter dish? Melissa and I decided to make a quinoa salad incorporating those flavors, along with fresh avocado, to keep things nice and light. Yum.
Step 1 - acquire crab legs. I got a pretty good deal on pre-cooked king crab legs at Costco.
Step 2 - remove crab meat. This was both thrilling and frustrating. I felt compelled to extract every last shred of meat from those suckers - not an easy task, but very rewarding. This will take a while, so start cooking your quinoa in the meantime (Step 1.5? 2.5? I give up). We used a 3:1 mixture of white and black quinoa because we thought it would look pretty (we were right), you can use whatever you like.
Kanikama is the imitation crab meat you find in cheap sushi rolls. It is made from white fish (pollock usually) that is formed and colored to look like crab. Sounds gross, but is actually pretty tasty - and way cheaper than real crab. Kanikama salad is a pretty typical way to prepare imitation crab outside of sushi rolls. It usually involves kanikama, shredded vegetables, and mango in a light mayonnaise based dressing and is sometimes topped with tobiko.
My version is kanikama and mango over lettuce, served with avocado (I meant to get tobiko, too, but I forgot!) This is really light and refreshing, and a little bit sweet - perfect for summer. It's important to realize that Japanese mayo is different from American - it is lighter, thinner, and made with rice wine vinegar. For my dressing, I bought Yum Yum sauce thinking it would be good as is (it's a mayonnaise based sauce that they use at Hibachi grill restaurants). But when I tried it out, it was a bit too sweet and bland. So I added a splash each of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, and toasted sesame oil (easy on that last one, it is very strong).
I don't really have a recipe - it's more of a play with seasonings til you like it kind of thing. You could add in julienned carrots, cucumber, even summer squash. You could dice the avocado and fold it in with the mango (which I did on subsequent days). You could toss the lettuce in the dressing as well, instead of setting the dressed kanikama on top. There are lots of ways that you can make this your own. Leave a comment telling me how you like your kanikama salad!