This simple salad lets the big lumps of crab star, with steamed mussels playing a supporting role, all simply dressed with mayonnaise that's spiked with Old Bay seasoning. For the mayonnaise, you want a light olive oil. Don't be tempted to use extra virgin, or the flavor of the oil will overwhelm the mayonnaise.
If you'd rather buy your mayo than make it, the recipe writer says that's okay.
- For the mayonnaise
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 cup light olive oil
- Kosher salt
- For the mussels
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced (about 4 ounces)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 12 to 18 mussels, preferably Prince Edward Island, beard removed, shells scrubbed
- 1 cup white wine
- For the salad
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, from half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 pound fresh Maryland jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over to remove shell and cartilage
- 20 leaves fresh tarragon, chopped, from one stem
- Kosher salt
- 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves removed, then cleaned and dried
For the mayonnaise: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, mustard and vinegar.
While whisking, add the oil, starting with a few drops at a time. After about 1/3 of the oil is incorporated, add the remainder in a slow, steady stream. The mayonnaise should not get very thick. Add salt to taste. The yield is about 1 cup.
For the mussels: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook until they have softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mussels, then add the wine and cover the saucepan. Steam the mussels just until they have all opened, about 4 minutes; discard any that do not open. Remove the mussels from their shells. Discard the shells and save the steaming liquid for another use, if desired.
For the salad: Combine ½ cup of the mayonnaise, the lemon juice and Old Bay in a medium mixing bowl. Add the crabmeat, mussels and tarragon and fold together very gently so as not to break up the crabmeat. Season with salt to taste.
To serve, arrange the lettuce leaves on a large serving plate. Top with the salad and serve immediately.
Adapted from a recipe by Jordan Lloyd, chef at the Bartlett Pear Inn in Easton, Md.
Tested by Jim Webster.
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