Crab, Corn, and Avocado Salad Bites
Though normally these are foods I crave, when it’s hot like it’s been here this last week in Michigan, anything too rich, fatty, or even warm is just unpalatable. An article I recently read explains that this is true of most people – our appetites are lowered in hot weather as our body naturally attempts to regulate our temperature. Eating - especially highly caloric foods - kicks our metabolism into gear, and as it does, the effort of turning food into energy creates heat.Also interesting – the cooler, crisper food that calls us on hot days also sticks with our body longer. Turns out, however oppressive this sweaty summer weather may feel, it’s great for a diet!
Also great for a diet? This dish.
Yeah, okay.You read the ingredients and being the smart cookie you are, you're wondering - but Erin? Avocado? Olive oil? Crab? Yes, there is a little fat in there, but it’s the healthy kind. The good for your brain and heart omega-3 sort and the sort that won’t leave you feeling sluggish after you eat it. Add fresh cilantro, onion, jalapeno and lemon juice keep the flavor profile light, bright, and clean and baby romaine leaf carriers to keep things cool and crisp. I used a cool vintage deviled egg dish I inherited from my grandmother to serve these up, and sprinkled them with chili as a final touch. Beautiful, refreshing, and totally simple to make.
Get Your Stuff Together:
- Canned Lump Crab
- Avocado - I used a half.
- Corn - About a cup and half. Fresh is best, but I used frozen.
- Minced Red Onion - about a cup or so
- "Little Gem" Romaine Lettuce Heads
- Jalapeno - just a tbsp minced
- Chopped Cilantro - about a cup
- Olive Oil - about a tbsp
- Fresh Squeeze Lemon Juice - about a half a lemon's worth.
- Chili Powder
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Optional: Deviled Egg Dish, Lemon Slice Garnish
Notice, I didn't offer exact amounts. You don't need them! Let your tastebuds be your guide. Start by defrosting your frozen corn in a bowl of warm water. (Unless you're using fresh of course. In that case, cook your corn as your like and slice off your kernals into a bowl.) Prep your fresh stuff. Half your avocado and cut it into small pieces no larger than half inch on any side. Fine mince your red onion, cilantro, jalapeno and one head of your baby romaine.
I used fresh cilantro from our garden which is why it probably looks a little different from what you're used to seeing at your grocery. It was let to grow for a bit too long and started flowering - no good - and getting leggy, rather than bushy, so it needed a shearing anyhow.
Place your drained lump crab meat in a medium mixing bowl ready to receive it's companion ingredients - corn, avocado, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, and lettuce. Fold them in gently as not to break up your crab. Squeeze in your lemon juice and pour in your olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Taste good? Perfectly balanced or does it need more something or another? Don't be afraid to adjust as you go!
Dish It Out
Time to "dish" it up in your lettuce leaves! These baby romaine heads are one of our family's new favorite things and regular grocery staples. You don't get bitter bits like you sometimes do with an adult romaine head, and the size makes them wonderfully versatile.The leaves are the perfect size for burgers, and sandwiches, but they're also great chopped up for a salad or simply dipped in a dressing and eaten as a ready-to-go salad as-is! They are dense in the way a head of iceberg lettuce is which makes them great for little wedge salads, and for this same reason, they're actually marketed on the packaging as being "great for grilling!" (If you haven't tried broiled or grilled romaine yet, I highly recommend it!)
Anyway, though, back to the dishing. A deviled egg dish seemed to lend itself perfectly to holding the leaves, though a large plate could certainly work as well. Spoon your mixture into the outer individual leaves. The very inner leaves will be too small. Set them aside as dippers for your favorite dressing. (Mine's this ginger dressing. OMG. YUM.)
Sprinkle a little chili powder on top - for pretty and for flavor. I used lemon slices as a functional garnish for the middle of my platter. My boyfriend and I split these among ourselves alongside some lobster egg rolls we picked up, but I could see these being shared among a variety of appetizers, as a side dish to meal, or kept yourself and enjoyed as a fun, yet elegant finger food salad. They were the perfect thing for a hot day - fresh, simple, and just really, really good. My boyfriend has been bugging me to make them again since!