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Craving Crab?

If you are craving crab, try my Crab Salad Sandwiches with Gruyere Cheese. They are pretty darn delicious. You don’t have to buy crab legs to make this recipe. Most supermarkets sell jumbo lump crab, lump crab meat, and crab claw meat in one-pound containers. You will find these in the refrigerated seafood section. They will also sell canned crab meat on the same aisle as tuna fish. I much prefer buying the refrigerated product.

What are the differences between the different varieties of crab meat? Jumbo lump crab is the most sought-after crab meat. It is also the most expensive. It has a mild, delicate flavor and a sweet taste. This meat comes from the muscle that moves the crab’s swimmer fins, and each crab has only two of these fins, making jumbo lump crab meat harder to come by.

Lump crab meat comes from the body of the crab. Its taste is stronger than jumbo lump crab but milder than claw meat. This is the best crab meat to use if you are going to make crab cakes. Crab claw meat comes from the claws of the crab, which tend to be more muscular than the body. Claw meat has a stronger “crab” flavor than lump crab meat. Crab leg meat, of course,comes from the legs of the crab. It is easier to remove than claw meat. Backfin meat is a mix of lump crab meat and body meat and does not contain any meat from the legs or claws. If you are pinching pennies and you want to make this recipe, imitation crab meat is a more affordable option. It is made from pollock and contains less than two percent real crab meat.

When we make this recipe, we like using a combination of lump crab and crab claw meat. If you plan to make this recipe using lump crab and crab claw meat, you will need to purchase two pounds. If you choose to use crab legs, I have included tips on shopping for crab legs. Crab legs will yield about 50 percent meat. If you are making this recipe with crab legs, plan on buying about four pounds. One pound of crab legs will yield about one cup of meat.

Crab Salad Sandwiches with Gruyere Cheese Serves 4 to 6

4 to 6 brioche buns 4 tablespoons melted butter 4 cups crab meat 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese 2 green onions, thinly sliced ½ cup mayonnaise ¼ cup sour cream 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice Salt to taste Large grind black pepper to taste Cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Split buns in half lengthwise. Brush with melted butter. Toast lightly on a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, combine crabmeat, shredded Gruyere cheese, green onions, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Mix well. Season with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste and mix again.

Spoon crab mixture onto the bottom half of the buns. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until hot. Top with the other half of the bun and serve.

Tips on shopping for crab legs: Cooked, ready-to-eat crab is available at your supermarket either fresh, frozen, or pasteurized in cans or containers. Crab should feel cold to the touch when you purchase it. Any exposed meat should be white in color. The shells of crab legs should be bright in color. If you are buying frozen, check the package for ice crystals. This is a sign of freezer burn. Avoid fresh, picked crabmeat that smells or has pockets of blue or gray. This discoloration means it has not been stored properly.

Tips on storing crab: Fresh crabmeat should be refrigerated and eaten within 2 days of purchase or frozen. Keep frozen crab frozen until you are ready to eat it.

Pasteurized crab sold in cans has an 8 to 18-month shelf life. Once opened, it will keep for 7 days in your refrigerator.

Tips on thawing crab legs: You can thaw frozen crab legs by placing them in the refrigerator overnight (about 8 hours) or place them in your sink and run cold water over them. If you thaw them in your refrigerator, place them on a rack in a water-tight container so that any water drains to the bottom during defrosting.

Carol Ann


Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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