“Baku Palace” King Crab Salad

This recipe is inspired by the crab salad I ate at Baku Palace in Sheepshead Bay a few weeks ago (my restaurant review will come soon, but for now the place is still without power since Hurricane Sandy). The original recipe was terribly deceptive, as the dish, priced at $20 for two people, consisted of julienned cucumber, ground walnut, and… surimi.

So, in order to get rid of the feeling of being cheated, I figured I’d do my own version at home, for about the same price but with real king crab. I added a couple of elements to the recipe and I’m serving it on toasted bread, but the spirit remains the same. Compared to many other posts on my blog, this is surprisingly quick and easy to make. And still delicious!

Russian Cuisine - King Crab Salad

I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures. My recent trip to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan turned out a bit rough for we the people and also our belongings; my SLR won a free trip to Nikon for in-depth cleaning. Until I get it back, all I have is an old compact camera.

Mayonnaise
Yields about 9 oz

1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 pinch salt
8 oz canola oil

  • Place the egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl. Keep the bowl steady by wrapping a wet towel around it.
  • Start mixing the ingredients with a whisk, then keep whisking vigorously while pouring the canola oil in a thin stream. Stop as soon as all the oil has been incorporated, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • If your mayo emulsion breaks, my recommendation would be to start over. Yes there are methods to fix it, but they’ve never worked too well for me, and it’s not like the base ingredients are expensive. The mustard plays an important role: 1/2 tsp won’t impart a prominent flavor, but it greatly facilitates the emulsion.

Crab salad
Yields about 14 toasts

10 oz king crab meat (picked from 1.5 lb crab legs)
1.5 oz seedless cucumber
2 oz green apple
3 oz mayonnaise
1/4 tsp piment d’espelette
salt
14 thin slices baguette
about 0.5 oz ground walnuts
about 1 tbsp finely chopped chives

  • Shred the crab meat between your fingers into pieces of various sizes — although none of them should be too big; keep in my that this will be eaten on a toast. Make sure to remove all the cartilage. Pat dry in a paper towel and reserve.
  • Cut the cucumber and apple into a fine julienne. This is much easier to do with a mandoline but a knife works, too. Pat dry in a paper towel.
  • In a bowl, place the crab, cucumber, green apple, mayonnaise, and piment d’espelette. Mix with a spatula, then taste and season with salt. Refrigerate until service.
  • Just before serving, toast the slices of baguette until lightly colored. Spread the crab salad on toasts generously — it is more important to have a nice heap of salad than to obtain exactly 14 toasts. Sprinkle the ground walnuts and chopped chives on top, and enjoy immediately.

Russian Cuisine - King Crab Salad

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