Accompany Fried Crab With Mouth-Puckering Fruit Salad

Ah, the crispy, decadent allure of fried crab — golden-brown, deliciously crunchy on the outside, tender and succulent on the inside. While fried crab in all its forms from soft shell crab to crab cakes is always a crowd-pleaser, it calls for a side that brings out its true potential. Enter the citrus salad: Vibrant, zesty, and refreshingly tart. Together, they balance each other out for a satisfying and tasty meal.

Seafood and citrus share a long, storied history. A spritz of lemon or lime has long been the go-to for chefs worldwide, brightening up seafood dishes and enhancing their innate flavors. But why is this pairing so iconic? Citrus fruits, especially lemon and lime, have an acidic profile that imparts a fresh, clean flavor to seafood. This zing cuts through the seafood's natural brininess, elevating its taste while maintaining its distinct character. When dealing with fried crab specifically, citrus becomes even more crucial. The richness and greasiness inherent in fried foods can sometimes weigh down the palate, but citrus, with its bright and lively nature, offers a light balance.

Try these citrus salads

While lemon and lime are classics, the citrus family offers a treasure trove of flavors that can complement fried crab. A few of these zesty options include grapefruit, orange, and kumquat. The bittersweet flavor of grapefruit offers a complex flavor profile that wonderfully balances the richness of fried crab. While not as tart as other citruses, oranges offer a sweet juiciness that contrasts well with the salty crunch of fried crab. Blood oranges, meanwhile, with their vibrant hue and unique taste, can be a tart addition. These tiny citrus jewels pack a punch. Kumquats have a sweet skin and sour interior that provides a burst of flavor that's also unexpected.

When crafting a citrus salad for fried crab, variety is key. Segment different citruses for a mix of flavors and textures. Add thinly sliced red onions for a sharp bite, fresh chopped herbs like mint or cilantro for aroma, and perhaps a sprinkle of chili flakes for an extra kick. You can even char the citrus for added flavor.

Squeezing the juice of lemons or limes over the prepared citrus salad will also help bring harmony not only to the salad, but in pairing it with the crab too. The goal is to create a symphony of flavors that brightens the palate.