Food Snob Chronicles (Recipe): Fried Crab Tacos

I grew up in a hamburger meat family. When we ate seafood, it came from either Long John Silver’s or Red Lobster. And Tex-Mex restaurants back in the day? Forget about it! If you wanted something other than beef or cheese enchiladas, you were out of luck. But times have changed.

I was  in my early 20s before my taste buds were treated to crab, and I’ve never looked back. Though I enjoy almost anything that was born and raised in the ocean, crab is one of my favorites. It’s natural sweetness is perfect in a taco — especially when the same bite includes the zing of chiles, the crunch of fried corn tortilla and fresh cabbage & carrot, and the smooth buttery flavor and consistency of avocado. Top it with a little tomato salsa and a dollop of tangy Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise (easy recipe below), and this is truly a bueno culinary experience.

Fried Crab Tacos — This ain't your old school Tex-Mex.

Fried Crab Tacos — This ain’t your typical old school Tex-Mex.

Fried Crab Tacos

(Tacos Dorados con carne de cangrejo)

1/2 lb – Crab meat, picked and cleaned
2 tsp – Chile powder

1 – Avocado, sliced
1/4 cup – Fresh Cilantro leaves
About 1 cup – Shredded cabbage & carrots (cole slaw mix)

6 – Corn tortillas
Vegetable oil, for frying

Queso fresco
Your favorite red salsa

Sprinkle chile powder on crab meat; combine and set aside. In a small skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil over medium-to-medium high heat. (You might want to test a tortilla or two to make sure oil is hot enough — they should begin sizzling as soon as you place them in the oil.) — Place tortilla in hot oil. With tongs, lift up one end and fold it over. When bottom side is nicely browned (about 15 seconds) turn the tortilla over. (You might want to use the tongs and keep the top side lifted, so as to give yourself plenty of room to stuff the final product.) Place fried taco shells on paper plate or paper towel-line plate to drain excess oil.

Stuff the tacos in this order:

  • a generous pinch of cabbage/carrot mixture
  • a few cilantro leaves
  • avocado slice (on one side or the other)
  • about 1/4 cup of crab meat

Top with crumbled queso fresco and salsa. Also top with (or use as a taco ‘dip’) Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise.

This recipe makes six Fried Crab Tacos.

Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

1/2 cup – Mayonnaise
2 TB – Cilantro, chopped finely
Juice from one small lime

Combine all ingredients. Let sit for at least a few hours, if possible.

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  1. Your childhood sounds like mine in this respect, Adam. Though mine was even more depraved….erhmmmm, deprived in that I had NO idea what a taco was until I was about 16 or so and didn’t have crab til my mid 20′s. Now I love both and my oh my, this looks like a great way to combine the two treats!

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Janet! One of these years I’m going to post the taco recipe that I grew up on. I despised it as a child because it wasn’t just like the Taco Bell version! ;-)

  2. Excellent Adam! I love crab but have never tried it this way, especially with that cilantro lime mayo. Is crab reasonably priced down your way? The thing here is that we’ve had a glut of lobsters for the past few years – it’s cheaper than steak but crab is astronomical.

    • adamjholland says:

      I’ll put it to you this way, Diane — the crab in that photo cost me about $11. More expensive that ground round? Yes. Cheaper than a bone-in ribeye? Absolutely! Still, we don’t eat it often. I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. :-)

      • Well, that’s a good price comparison & I’d say you can get crabmeat a little cheaper than we can here. I think it’s about $30-35/lb right now.
        My neck of the woods isn’t too bad – it’s the hip that’s kept me off the computer a lot. Getting a new one, scheduled for May 7th – they bumped me up to their earliest after seeing the xrays. In addition to bone grinding on bone and a cyst in there, apparently the bone is slipping out of the socket & on it’s way to dislocating. But that’s good news because at least I have a date to get a brand spanking new hip & I’ll be dancing just like Beyoncé.

  3. OK, your description if the crab taco has convinced me. I like most seafood very simply cooked with a minimum of seasoning, but I can make an exception for this. :-D

  4. These look wonderfully Tex-Mex and I can’t wait until I can make it – I need to find a sub for the cilantro (tastes like soap to me) but these look like Wednesday night dinner! :)

    • adamjholland says:

      Geez, Kelli. Are you part of the “tastes like soap” camp? ;-) There is no substitute for cilantro. Just make sure you serve it with lime and you’ll be good to go.

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