Crab Salad with Grapefruit

Salade de pamplemousse au crabe

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

Cuisine of the Sun

By Roger Vergé

Published 1979

  • About

Moderately expensive


  • 2 grapefruits, pink for preference as they are usually sweeter
  • 1 lettuce heart
  • 1 live or freshly-cooked crab weighing 800 g ( lb) or a 100 g ( oz) tin of Russian or Alaskan crabmeat
  • 5 tablespoons double cream
  • 2 teaspoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cognac
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper or three drops Tabasco
  • salt
  • bayleaves for decoration


  1. With a live crab: Cook for 25 minutes in salted boiling water, then allow to cool. Remove the claws and crack them carefully, without crushing them, with the back of a heavy knife. Extract the flesh. Open the body and discard the inedible parts. Pick out all the meat, and remove any little membranes or pieces of shell. Set aside on a plate.

    With tinned crab: Pick over the crabmeat and discard any membranes or pieces of shell and set aside on a plate.

  2. Peel the grapefruit with a sharp knife, taking care to cut away all the white pith. Hold the peeled fruit over a plate and insert a thin sharp knife between both sides of the membrane and the flesh of each segment or ‘pig’, in such a way that the flesh drops out and the inner membranes remain attached to the central core of the fruit. Remove the pips, and keep the skinned segments and juice on one side in the plate.

    Wash the lettuce heart, detaching one leaf at a time, and dry carefully in a cloth.

  3. In a bowl mix the cream, the tomato ketchup, the cognac and 4 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice which has collected in the plate (2). Add a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper, or salt and 3 drops of Tabasco. Whisk until the mixture becomes thick and foamy, but take care not to beat for too long or the sauce will turn granular.
  4. Line the edges of two plates with bayleaves (not to be eaten) and arrange the well-drained grapefruit segments (2) over them. Place the lettuce leaves in the centre of the plates and scatter the crabmeat (1) on top, coat with the sauce (3) and serve very cold.

Recommended wines

  • dry white – Côtes de Provence or Cassis