Dungeness Crab, Avocado and Papaya Salad

This beautiful salad is occasionally on the menu at one of Portland’s oldest and finest fish houses, Jake’s Famous Crawfish, in downtown Portland. Jake’s is considered one of the top ten seafood restaurants in the country and has been a Portland landmark for over 115 years.  Their menu changes daily and reflects the best and freshest seafood available in the Pacific Northwest.  This is a wonderful first course for a special occasion and is an elegant and light summer salad.
Dungeness Crab, Avocado and Papaya Saladadapted from a recipe in Jake’s Seafood Cookbook
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon saffron
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 firm, ripe avocado
1 firm, ripe papaya
12 ounces Dungeness crab meat
Red leaf or Bibb lettuce
To make the dressing, warm the lemon juice slightly and add the saffron. Allow the mixture to steep while the juice returns to room temperature. Combine the mayonnaise and ginger and add the lemon juice and saffron.  Blend well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Peel, seed and slice the avocado and papaya.
Gently mix the crab meat with enough dressing to moisten.  I like to save out several crab legs for garnish.  Arrange some crab meat on a lettuce leaf.  Spoon several tablespoons of dressing onto the plate and complete the arrangement with slices of the avocado and papaya.  Garnish with several threads of saffron and a slice of lemon.
Serve with a crusty bread and a crisp, chilled white wine.
Makes 3-4 salads.


  1. Erin says

    YUM! You had me at crab! =o) Looks absolutely delicious! Was this crab from the market? I knew we should have gone yesterday!

  2. Allie and Pattie says

    There was a restaurant in Freeport Long Island that made something similar (but not as pretty as yours) years ago- great memory and so good!
    xoxo Pattie

  3. The Quintessential Magpie says

    Fabulous, Cathy! You need to be taking photographs and writing recipes for a cooking magazine! Better yet, you need to write a cookbook of your own!


    Sheila :-)

  4. Salsa Verde says

    Hi Cathy,
    Amazing salad and wonderful combination of flavours!!
    Hope you are having a lovely Sunday,

  5. SavoringTime in the Kitchen says

    That is a gorgeous salad! The dressing sounds delightful also with the hint of saffron. I wish I could grab a bite!

  6. highlandsranchfoodie says

    Cathy this is absolutely beautiful. One more reason for yet another return visit to Oregon Wine Country. In the meantime I will try this myself.

  7. Foodessa says

    Couldn't help but notice that very pretty napkin holder…very unique.

    The seafood platter seems well enhanced especially with Papaya…something I probably would not have thought of doing.

    Thanks for the idea and the recipe.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  8. heartnsoulcooking says

    I LOVE!!! everything about this salad. What a GREAT!!! post and I think the Bumble Bee napkin holder is AWESOME!!!

  9. The Gypsy Chef says

    Cathy, I love this recipe! The dish, silverware and napkin ring are gorgeous! Beautiful pic too.
    You've incorporated all my favorite fruits in this entree. Unfortunately we have no dungeness crab in New York so I am trying this recipe with lobster. I am smitten with this dish!

  10. Karen says

    Well, for sure I need to comment on your post. My husband and son grow papaya in Mexico! We export year-round. Hopefully it was one of our papayas. It's so bright and orange, it looks like one of ours. They're so very good for you.
    I can't get Dungeness crab, but I'll try to find a reasonable substitute and for sure make this salad. It looks delicious.
    I'll be back!
    Ladybug Creek

  11. Jeannie says

    I have never thought of using papaya on a plate of seafood salad, this is a great idea! Love that bumble bee napkin holder.

  12. theUngourmet says

    This is such a pretty salad! I love the colors. Crab, papaya and avocado all together on one plate. Yum! What could be better?! I love your napkin holder too. So pretty!

  13. Mary says

    That is a beautiful salad, Cathy. The colors are spectacular. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  14. Sophie says

    What a lovely & stunning crabb, avocado & fruit salad!!

    Waw!! The plate looks georgous & the fork too!

  15. Sue says

    Hi Cathy…I am already missing seafood and it's not even been a week since I've been back…Your salad looks wonderful…We are now back to Mrs. Pauls fish sticks and tuna in a can…no fresh seafood in these parts!!

  16. Kate says

    This combination of flavors rocks! I would love every bite. The Kitchen Gnome would be in line for seconds!

  17. Cathy says

    Wow, I would love it with lobster too, Karen. Dungeness is very available here and I use it a lot in special dishes, but lobster!!!! Now that's a rare treat. And very pricey too.

  18. My Little Space says

    Ooo… such an awesome combo between the fruits & crab meat! You did again, Cathy. Have a great day.
    Cheers, Kristy

  19. Jamie says

    I've said it before and I'll say it again I am nuts for crab and am jealous of all you eat! This is a beautiful dish. Gorgeous picture, Cathy!


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