The city of Mobile, Alabama, has a world-class oyster bar, Wintzell’s Oyster House, downtown on Dauphin Street, where oysters are ‘fried, stewed, or nude’ and served at the bar, where one counter hand does nothing but open oysters as fast as the customers can eat them. The chef’s wife comes in every morning to make 30 gallons of gumbo, a deep, dark, spicy fish stew or soup, served with rice. There you will also find an authentic Mobile speciality, a marinated crab salad called simply ‘West Indies’. It is thought to have been introduced to Mobile about sixty years ago by a sea captain who used to fish the Caribbean waters. It is a light, summery dish, excellent as part of a buffet, and because it is sealed in a jar it could easily be transported to a picnic.
Refrigerate for 24 hours at least. Serve spooned onto Cos or Little Gem lettuce leaves, dust with the paprika, and decorate with the herbs. An alternative is
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.