Balkan Crab Salad with Walnut and Lemon Mayonnaise

The crunch of the walnuts in the walnut-flavored mayonnaise adds an interesting and unusual depth of flavor to the salad and plays up the sweetness of the crab. You can serve this simply, on a bed of lettuces, or expand it with cooked potatoes, asparagus, or green beans drizzled with some of the thinned mayonnaise.


Walnut Lemon Mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely puréed garlic
  • cups mild olive oil
  • ¼ cup walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 large cucumbers seeded and cut into ½-inch dice (about 3 cups) (see note)
  • 1 pound cooked crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
  • Lettuces or watercress to line plate
  • Walnut oil and lemon juice for greens
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
  • Chopped parsley or fresh dill for garnish
  • 16 blanched asparagus spears plus 8 little new potatoes (red, white, or yellow Finnish), roasted or boiled and then sliced or quartered (optional)



For the walnut lemon mayonnaise, combine the yolks, some of the lemon juice, and the puréed garlic in a bowl or blender, or in the bowl of a food processor. Gradually whisk or process in the oils, drop by drop at first, until a smooth emulsion is formed, and then more rapidly until all the oil has been added. (Of course you may use prepared mayonnaise if you don’t want to make your own.) Blend in the remaining lemon juice, the lemon zest, and the chopped walnuts. Add salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if desired, to taste.

To serve, combine the diced cucumbers and crabmeat with the mayonnaise. Toss lettuces or watercress with a little walnut oil and lemon juice. Divide the greens among 4 salad plates. Top with the crab and cucumber mixture. Sprinkle with the walnuts and chopped parsley or dill.