cook-mugMy brother-in-law, Tommy Ratchford of Pensacola, isn’t much of a cook, but he knows a thing or two about seafood. Hearken to his “Southfacin’ Cook” recipe for perfect boiled shrimp on His “West Indies Salad” is a delicious, light, crisp, tart combination of vinegar-sweetened onions, brine and juicy lump crab meat. Can’t get much tastier than that! It’s gorgeous on toasted french bread slices and even prettier in a stemmed cocktail glass as a true salad or a buffet specialty. Easy, delicious. A great change of pace with summertime fare, too. Enjoy any time of the year, so long as the crab meat is fresh.


EQUIPMENT – Medium-size mixing bowls, glass loaf pan, chopping board, chef’s knife, veggie chopper or food processor, sieve or colander, small rubber spatula, measuring equipment, plastic wrap


WESTINDIESSALAD.11 pound fresh jumbo lump crab meat

2 large or 3 medium yellow onions

1 bunch green onions (5-6 onions)

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper (more if you like more “kick”)

6 ounces apple cider vinegar

4 ounces extra virgin olive oil

4 ounces water


WESTINDIESSALAD.5In your sink, dump crab meat into a sieve or colander. Under a light stream of cold water, use your hands to carefully rinse crab meat and remove orange bits and any pieces of shell. Be gentle, though, not to break up lumps. Set crab meat aside and allow it to drain thoroughly.

Peel yellow onions, quarter them. In batches, chop in a box chopper or carefully pulse in a food processor until the onion bits are about the size of a black-eye pea (smaller than a dime). Be careful not to chop them too small. Empty onions into a mixing bowl.


Finely chop green onions and blend with other onions. In glass loaf pan, add half the onion blend, top with crab. End with rest of onion blend. Lightly tamp down to even mixture top.


Drizzle vinegar, using a side-to-side pattern to cover the top layer. In the same side-to-side pattern, drizzle the salt, then the white pepper. Finish drizzling with olive oil, then water.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 6-8 hours. Salad keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 days.

SERVES 6-8. Looks pretty plated on a lettuce leaf or in a stemmed cocktail glass. Also good on crackers or toasted french bread slices.


Editor’s Note: All photos courtesy of


One thought on “Southfacin’ Cook: How to Make Crabmeat West Indies Salad

  1. Richard Owen

    Where do you find your crawfish? I am too lazy to clean them fresh. Used to find them cleaned frozen by the pound bag at Whole Foods from Louisianna or Spain. But now they are not there, and all the rest are from China–and I will not do China grown foods.

Comments are closed.