Crab, avocado and radish salad with Ponzu dressing

Photo of crab salad with Ponzu dressing.

As I mentioned in older posts, I was in the USofA at the beginning of the year and joined up with 2 of my 3 American sisters. While at The Cape (Cape Cod to be precise), Lynn and I went out for Chinese and she introduced me to a Crab, Avocado and Radish Salad. It was deevine to say the very least and I have since been looking for a recipe.

The salad ingredients were easy to note, but what was the delicious mild dressing?? I remembered having seen a recipe with similar ingredients using a Ponzu dressing, so my search began for Ponzu dressing recipes and after tweaking a few, I have come up with one of my own for you to enjoy! But before we go any further, allow me to introduce My American Sisters…

I met Lynn, Peg and Beth about 13 years ago and immediately adopted them as family. They can run and they can hide, but I can track them down in a heartbeat! Remember the movie “Three men and a baby”? Well, 3 sisters, a baby and a mad South African girl have even done a couple of road trips from New England to Pennsylvania where we visited family past and present. I have mentioned my (strange) love of graveyards and American graveyards are great because they are HUGE and look like parks more than sombre cemeteries. On our first trip, the 4 of us decided to share a room at the Holiday Inn…did you know that some people can snore on their tummy, back and sides?!?!

We’ve been to the States most every year of those 13 years, so I have loads of stories to tell (or maybe not tell). I remember the first year we stayed with Lynn, Steve, Michael and their brand new Jack Russell Terrorist (I mean Terrier of course), Duke. Joerg and I were in the bathroom together doing our morning ablutions and we decided to let the cute puppy in with us. Joerg was out of the shower and in the process of brushing his teeth (in the nude I might add), when The Puppy looked up, saw something interesting dangling about and made a mighty leap to try and get hold of it. It wasn’t, however, quite as big a leap as Joerg made (thank goodness as I do like him with a deep voice) and so all’s well that ends well! (The following photo has Duke on the right and Ajax on the left.)

Photo of Duke and Ajax.

Keeping on the subject of dogs, Joerg was over for Peg and Tim’s raising of the roof, i.e., putting on the second and third floors of their lovely lake house. They had a new German Shepherd puppy, Nick, and he decided to exit the house via the window. Of the third floor. Poor baby was in splints for weeks, but he was alive and loved by all. This same puppy took off on their wedding day and Peg and Beth chased him for 45 minutes in full wedding regalia, while the guests sat in the church wondering if the bride-to-be had changed her mind. Wish I’d been there for all that excitement!

But it’s Beth and Joe’s Bloodhound that is most memorable. The first time I visited Beth in Atlanta, she handed me a towel as I walked through the door and basically said, “you’ll see why in a moment”. Enter Flapper. Did you know that Bloodhounds produce about 100liters of saliva a minute? Okay, so maybe I exaggerate ever so slightly, but that boy could gob. Flapper would shake his head and saliva would be dripping off the walls and your nose. (Note to self: have to get a lid on the exaggeration kiddo.) But because he was sooooo cute, gob and all, you kept smiling and wiping.

This photo was taken in Falmouth, Cape Cod, on one of my walks.
Photo of snowy house and car on Cape Cod.

So now you have had a minor introduction to The Sisters, or actually their pets, but they will be featured regularly in this extraordinary blog. I spent the first week of 2009 with Peg and Tim (more about that later) and the second on Cape Cod with Lynn and Steve. It was at the Peking Palace Restaurant in downtown Falmouth that we had this great salad. The food there is very good – some of us do find that we have tummy troubles from the MSG and headaches from all the Mai Tai’s (but I think the latter is more our fault!). No MSG in the salad so go and enjoy!!

CRAB, AVOCADO AND RADISH SALAD WITH PONZU DRESSING
(Serves 6 as a starter)

I have used crab sticks in this recipe as this is what was served in the Chinese restaurant, but you could use tinned or fresh crabmeat if you prefer. Crab sticks give you longer pieces.

I served my salad with chopped lettuce, but you could serve it with the lettuce leaves intact which is a very attractive way to serve the salad.

At the restaurant, the salad was topped with fish roe, which I unfortunately didn’t have, but would add next time as it makes the salad look much nicer.

I used dark soy sauce as I was out of light soy sauce and this makes the dressing too dark and the color of the crab is therefore darker. Next time I will definitely use light soy sauce, not for flavor as this was the same, but for appearance.

Mirin is a Japanese rice wine that is very low in alcohol and is fairly sweet. Depending on which brand you have, it can have quite an intensive flavor, so use sparingly – you can always add more. I find it adds a little something to Asian style dressings, but if you don’t have any, just add a bit more honey or sugar.

Rice vinegar is another Asian ingredient I don’t like to be without. It has a higher vinegar content than Western vinegar, but is milder and less acidic in taste. I use the Chinese white one, but have read that there are other colors and milder Japanese ones. You could substitute this with a mild vinegar, but you do start to lose the Asian tastes in the salad.

I have seen other recipes that add lemon juice to the dressing. If you feel that the dressing could be a little more tart, then feel free to add some. I felt that it would be too overpowering, so I didn’t add any.

THE INGREDIENTS:

250g crab sticks, julienne finely
½ bunch of radishes, julienne finely
2 avocados, sliced
1 small lettuce, chopped
6 tsp fish roe (optional)

PONZU DRESSING:
30ml / 2 tbsp soy sauce, preferably light
30ml / 2 tbsp rice vinegar
30ml / 2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp honey
30ml / 2 tbsp Mirin OR 1 tbsp more honey

1. DRESSING: Mix all the dressing ingredients and toss with the crab sticks and radishes.

2. Arrange the lettuce on the plates and top with the avocado slices and then the dressed crab and radishes. Top with fish roe if using and serve!!

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