Dungeness Crab Salad in Cucumber Cups

Dungeness Crab Salad in Cucumber Cups
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This simple appetizer showcases the sweet, fresh taste of local Dungeness crab by keeping the other ingredients firmly in a supporting role. It's low-carb, lactose-free and gluten-free as an added bonus, should any of your guests have dietary restrictions. Sometimes the best thing you can do for good-quality ingredients is just stay out of their way. That's especially true when you have company coming and you feel an understandable urge to experiment with novel flavors and exotic ingredients. It's usually a better idea – and easier – to pick one good ingredient, such as Dungeness crab, and showcase it with a few supportive, complementary flavors. In this case, the supporting players are the well-proven trio of lemon, dill and cucumber.


  • 2 English (seedless) cucumbers
  • ½ lb. cooked Dungeness crab meat
  • 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 green onion, green portion only
  • 1 large or 2 small stems fresh dill


  1. Strip the plastic overwrap from the cucumbers and trim away their blossom ends. Cut the cucumbers into 24 segments, each 1" long. Reserve any leftovers for another use.
  2. Scoop a neat cavity in the middle of each cucumber segment with a melon baller. Arrange the cucumber cups on a platter.
  3. Break up the crab meat lightly with your fingers, checking it carefully for shell fragments. Transfer the crab to a mixing bowl and add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest and black pepper.
  4. Slice the green onion finely and add it to the bowl.
  5. Pluck 24 small, pretty fronds from the dill and set them aside. Strip enough from the rest of the stem to make 1 tablespoon of chopped dill and add it to the mixing bowl.
  6. Mix the salad ingredients gently with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, breaking up any large lumps of crab. There should be just enough mayonnaise to lightly coat the other ingredients, but not enough to give it the look of a paste.
  7. Divide the crab salad between the cucumber cups, allowing approximately 1 tablespoon per portion. For the best appearance, press the first half of each portion firmly into the cup, then mound the rest loosely. Garnish each cup with one of the reserved fronds of dill and refrigerate until meal time. Serve lightly chilled. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Choose straight, evenly-sized cucumbers for this appetizer. Ideally, they should be nearly twins in diameter so your appetizers look as uniform as possible.

If you own a chef-style zesting tool, use it to score the sides of the cucumbers lengthwise into green and white stripes. This step is optional, but it makes the cucumber cups prettier.

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