Spring Crab Sandwich

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 2
Spring Crab Sandwich
(Photographer Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times
Prop Stylist Nia Lee / For The Times)
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Full of plenty of assertive flavors, this crab salad sandwich is dressed up for spring. A lemon-and-garlic vinaigrette binds together fresh crab meat served as a cool filling between two warm, buttered brioche buns. Sugar snap peas, gherkins and Castelvetrano olives add plenty of crunch and spring vibrancy to the rich filling too. Jumbo lump crab meat is the best for this sandwich, but the best kind you can find — whether it’s lump, backfin or claw meat — will work.


Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. While it comes to a boil, use a microplane to finely grate the garlic into a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper, then swirl the lemon juice and garlic together and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, close the lid on the jar, and shake the jar vigorously until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Unscrew the lid and season the vinaigrette with more salt and pepper.


Place the crab in a small bowl and pick it over for any loose shell fragments, discarding any you find. If using jumbo lump crab, tear each piece in half with your fingers, so the dressed salad holds together better. Add half the vinaigrette from the jar and toss to coat the crab evenly. Reserve the remaining dressing in case you need it.


To the boiling water, add the sugar snap peas and cook for 1 minute. Drain the peas and transfer them to a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds to stop cooking. Drain the peas again, then thinly slice on a diagonal. Add the peas to a small bowl along with the sliced gherkins and their brine, the olives and the shallots. Season the salad with salt and pepper and let stand while you toast the buns.


Warm a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Divide the butter into four pieces and spread a piece along the inside of each bun’s top and bottom. Place the bun halves, buttered side down, in the skillet and cook until golden brown and toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the buns, toasted side up, to a cutting board (do not toast the unbuttered sides of the buns).


Divide the snap pea salad between the two bun bottoms, then top each with half of the iceberg lettuce. Top each with half the crab salad, then drizzle with a little more of the reserved vinaigrette, if you like. Season with more salt and pepper, then close the sandwiches and serve with potato chips.