Crabmeat can make some stunning party appetizers, but boy it is not cheap. Living in Maryland, I’m lucky enough to have access to beautiful local blue crab meat almost year-round. Every now and then I splurge and buy some to make this elegant Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad with Paprika Toasts. I never regret it, as these little toasts are both pretty and delicious, and 8 oz. of crabmeat really stretches a long way.
- Crabmeat: if you want to really splurge, you can go with jumbo lump crabmeat. Just make sure you stir gently when adding the crabmeat to the sauce, as you don’t want to break up those big clumps of crab. (If you do, you might as well have saved yourself some money and bought lump crabmeat instead.) I would, however, recommend lump over the more inexpensive claw meat or backfin crab meat—this recipe really showcases the crab meat with just a few ingredients, so the quality of the crab does come through.
- Paprika: I love the color and slight flavor that the paprika adds to these buttered toasts. You can use smoked paprika as well, which gives the toasts a little extra smoky kick. Or replace with a little cayenne pepper to add heat.
For another crowd-pleasing appetizer recipe, check out my Charred Tomatillo and Red Onion Guacamole.
Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad with Paprika Toasts
Easy, elegant crab salad appetizer featuring cilantro and lime, served on deliciously crispy paprika toasts.
- for the paprika toasts:
- 8 slices white bread
- 3 T. unsalted butter
- 1/2 t. paprika
- 1/4 t. kosher salt
- for the crab salad:
- 1/4 c. minced red onion, plus more for garnish
- zest of 1 lime
- 1.5 T. lime juice
- 2 T. chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 3-4 T. mayonnaise
- 8 oz. lump crabmeat
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
Stack several slices of bread on top of each other, cut the crusts off, and then cut into 4 squares. Repeat until all bread is sliced into squares. Lay the squares onto the prepared sheet pan.
Melt the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, then stir in the paprika and salt. Use a pastry brush to paint a layer of the paprika-butter mixture onto each toast.
Bake toasts in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Add red onion, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, and 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise to a medium bowl, and stir to combine.
Rinse the crab meat gently in a colander under cold water. Pick up small handfuls of crabmeat and squeeze gently to ring out water and feel for any shells. Pick out any shells you find, then add crabmeat to bowl.
Add additional tablespoon of mayonnaise if mixture is not creamy enough. Add salt and pepper, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Top each paprika toast with a spoonful of crab salad, then garnish with additional red onion and cilantro, if desired.
Both the paprika toasts and the crab salad can be made a few hours in advance, but don't assemble until right before serving. Refrigerate the crab salad in a covered bowl. The toasts can be left out at room temperature for a few hours, or put in a ziploc baggie once cool.