The Tar Heel Kitchen: Crab Meat Salad

by | Mar 20, 2015


Since 1926, the Agricultural Review has been a free newspaper published by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For many years, The Tar Heel Kitchen was a featured column written by the department’s marketing home economist.

These recipes tended to be seasonal with just a handful of ingredients. We thought these recipes needed to be shared in a new format. The Tar Heel Kitchen post will unearth a few of these timeless recipes each month. This week recipe is from the March 15, 1971 issue and features fresh N.C. crab.

You don’t have to be on the coast of North Carolina to enjoy fresh, local seafood. Many farmers markets and community-supported fisheries offer deliveries all the way to Asheville. This recipe is from York Kiker, former NCDA&CS home economist. She offered this insight to having seafood for dinner. “North Carolina seafoods are excellent sources of the “stick-to-ribs” protein necessary for main dishes,” she said. “Plentiful North Carolina crab meat is tender and distinctive in flavor…Give your family the V.I.P. (very important people) treatment and serve crab meat often. And what is seafood with out hushpuppies?”

Below are two easy crab recipes and a bonus hush puppy recipe.

Crab Meat Salad

  • 1 pound (cooked) crab meat
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet pickles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onions
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • lettuce
  • tomato wedges

Drain crab meat; remove any shell or cartilage. Combine all ingredients except lettuce and tomato, being careful not to break seafood into too-small pieces. Serve on lettuce and garnish with tomato wedges.

Crab Custard

  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • paprika

Remove any remaining shell or cartilage from crab meat. Pour butter in a baking dish, approximately 8x8x2 inches. Cut crust from bread. Place bread in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish. Spread crab meat over top of bread. Sprinkle cheese, parsley and onion over crab meat. Combine milk, eggs, salt, Worcestershire sauce and pepper; pour over crab meat. Sprinkle with paprika. Set baking dish in a pan containing 1 inch of hot water. Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Hush Puppies

  • 1 cup self-rising corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup (or more) water or buttermilk (or mixture of the two)
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon melted fat or cooking oil (optional)
  • 1 egg (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Drop into deep fat heated to 350 degrees, or fat is ready when a cube of bread browns in 60 seconds. Cook at this temperature until golden brown or until hush puppy floats. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

NOTE: The hush puppy does not cook thoroughly in the center if too much liquid is used. If enough liquid is not used, the outer appearance is rough and the hush puppy is not as light. Hush puppy mixture drops from the spoon easier if the spoon is dipped in a cup of cold water frequently. For round hush puppies, use a small spoon. For long hush puppies, drop from side of tablespoon.