A hodge-podge from the start, this wonderful salad is one of those “play-with-it” salads. If you started with just the crab and some salad dressing, and simply added stuff that you thought would taste good with those two items, you could possibly end up with a crab salad version similar to the one below. Don’t hold back, have fun with this one; it’s a great salad to have for supper on a warm summer evening and unless you are such a purist that you refuse to eat mock crab, try it with the mock crab first before you go out and spend too much for lump crab meat. Note: If you can, make this a day ahead of the day you plan on serving it; I think it gets better by sitting overnight.
¾ cup to 1 cup frozen peas, thawed, patted dry
1 ½ lbs. imitation crabmeat, cubed (of course, other crab “product” may be used)
3-4 stalks of celery hearts, chopped fine
2 TBSPS sweet onion, finely chopped
1 TBSP green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup salad dressing (or mayonnaise, if you must)
½ cup chili sauce, or ketchup
1 TSP prepared horseradish
1 TSP Worcestershire sauce
A pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lettuce leaves (optional, for serving)
3 hard cooked eggs, quartered lengthwise, for serving
1 large, ripe, tomato, cut into wedges, for serving
In a bowl, loosely mix together the peas, crab, celery, onion, and green pepper. Cover this bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge while you prepare the dressing. In a smaller bowl whisk together the dressing, chili sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and the salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside and let it rest for about 30 minutes to meld the flavors. Whisk the dressing one more time after resting and pour over the crab and vegetables mixture. Lightly toss the salad to coat it evenly but beware of over-mixing it because any form of crab can be fairly fragile; softly fold in the dressing only long enough to evenly coat the salad. Refrigerate the salad for no less than an hour before serving and overnight is better. I like to serve it on a clear glass plate on top of a nice lettuce leaf surrounded by tomato wedges and topped with cooked egg.