My life has changed a lot since I retired. And it’s changed so much more this past year with the Covid 19 pandemic. One thing that’s kept me sane is a small group of neighbors who get together with me every Monday to play cards. We started this weekly get together before the pandemic and we all are committed to following the same safety protocols so luckily we’ve been able to maintain our games (often masked for extra precaution). It’s managed to keep all of us sane.
Every week we meet at a different condo and once a month everyone has the opportunity to host. Hosting involves serving lunch. I love my turn to host because it’s an opportunity to try out new recipes on my guests. They’ve informed me they don’t mind at all being my guinea pigs and it gives me an opportunity to create an even greater arsenal for my blog.
I usually like to make something that I can prepare the day before and just heat up the following day. Normally that consists of soups, stews, casseroles and the like. A while back when I knew it was going to be cold outside I decided to make a creamy chicken and mushroom soup (recipe is forthcoming) and to add to it these crab salad tea sandwiches. I could make the crab salad the day before and the day of simply assemble and serve them.
So let’s talk crab salad tea sandwiches…
Lesson Learned 1 – Make the crab mixture the day before: With almost any type of salad like this, shrimp salad, chicken salad, crab salad, etc., it’s always best to make it ahead of time and allow all the ingredients to get sufficiently acquainted. The end result tastes notably different and better when the flavors get some time to gel. Plus an added benefit is you don’t have to scramble the day of your party because most of the work is already done. Take the time to make stuff ahead. It is well worth it.
Lesson Learned 2 – Use good crab meat and not the fake stuff: I know crab meat is expensive. The can I bought was on sale and I paid about $18.00 for it. But the flavor profile is so much better using good ingredients. A viable alternative is crab claw meat which is less expensive but I prefer the actual crab meat
Lesson Learned 3 – Rinse the crab meat with water: I found this is a great way to remove any gel or liquid that was on the crab in the can. Also go through the crab with your fingers and check for any shells. Sometimes small bits of shells can be on the crab and you want to remove them before mixing them with other ingredients.
Lesson Learned 4 – The trick to cutting nice small round sandwiches: I used a 3 inch biscuit cutter to make the sandwiches. I found I could make one sandwich, top and bottom, out of one slice of bread. I also discovered a little secret. Initially when I was cutting out the circles I swirled the biscuit cutter like you would when you cut dough. That created somewhat scraggly edges on the bread. Since the bread is so soft anyway, all you need to do is press down with the cutter. The round will form, you can easily pop it out of the biscuit cutter and you wind up with nice smooth edges. Live and learn…
These are very easy and fun to assemble and they are impressive looking and delicious. So try these out and tell me what you think…
Crab Salad Tea Sandwiches...
8.5 ounce can of crab meat, drained and checked for shells
1/4 cup English cucumber, diced
1/4 cup orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup mayo
1 Tbs. sour cream
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 generous Tbs. of fresh dill, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. white pepper
A couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 loaf of soft white bread
fresh dill for garnish
Mix the crab, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and celery together. Set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together the mayo, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, dill, salt, pepper, paprika and Worcestershire sauce.
Pour the dressing over the crab mixture and carefully fold to combine. Cover and let chill for at least one hour, overnight is preferable.
Slice the bread using a biscuit cutter to create three inch rounds.
Butter one side of each piece of bread (this will help the sandwiches from becoming soggy). Place a helping of crab salad on top of one buttered slice. Put the other slice on top buttered side down.
Press down on the bread to push the crab salad to the edges of the bread. Garnish with a dill sprig. You can serve immediately or store covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for no more than one hour.