Recreational Dungeness Crab Season opened Nov. 5, so it’s a really good time for harvesting both local rock and Dungeness crabs along with certain varieties of local avocados. Here’s a refreshing salad combination, using both with some fresh mango thrown in for good measure.

Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad

Serves 4.

For the sauce

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced (if unavailable, substitute papayas, nectarines or peaches)

1/4 c. water

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the salad

1 lb. lump Dungeness crabmeat, picked through to remove the small pieces of shell

1 Tbsp. cilantro leaves, finely chopped

2 tsp. mint leaves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. minced shallot or purple onion

1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Tabasco sauce

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 medium sized mango, peeled, pitted, and diced

1 firm but ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced

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Sauce directions

If you are pressed for time, put all of the sauce ingredients into a blender and purée.

Otherwise, heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the mango, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes until the fruit is very tender. Add water, bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a blender and purée until smooth. Chill.

Crab salad directions

In a bowl add the crab meat, 2 teaspoons of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon of the mint, the chopped shallot, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 10 drops of Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix carefully with a fork, to avoid breaking up the larger lumps of crab meat. Set aside.

In a separate bowl add the mango, avocado, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon lime juice, the remaining cilantro and mint leaves, 10 drops of Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently with a spoon, taking care not to mash the avocado pieces.

Using small desert bowls for individual molds, layer the crab mixture and the mango avocado mixture. It doesn't really matter which you layer first. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

When you are ready to serve, gently remove the salads from the molds onto individual plates. Serve the sauce on the side. Garnish with cilantro leaves. 

Try Fess Parker’s 2014 Santa Barbara County Viognier. Aromas of white flowers, honey suckle, white peach, nectarine and vanilla jump out of the glass. Their full-bodied Viognier exhibits flavors of honeydew melon, apricot, white peach and pie crust, finishing with citrus and vanilla notes. This vintage is a blend of 97% Viognier and 3% Grenache Blanc, both harvested from the Camp Four and Rodney's Vineyards located in the Santa Ynez Valley AVA.


John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook, "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at