If you think of a potato salad with imitation crab, then I’m pretty sure you are imagining a mayonnaise-based dressing. And yes, this would be the classic version, which my friend Anna swears by, but as a non-mayo fan, I prefer my potato salad with an oil and vinegar dressing. In this case a Dijon based one. This salad recipe is based on a truly Canadian classic potato salad with the addition of surimi. It was inspired by Anna’s mayo version, and memories of those times I used to snack on surimi as a low-fat protein choice back in my 20’s.
What is Surimi?
Imitation crab, known as surimi is probably best known as a popular filling in sushi rolls. It originates from Japan, and have been around for ever — centuries. It’s made from fish filets, most commonly pollock (but also mackerel or cod), and processed into what look like “crab sticks”. It tastes quite neutral and it’s supposed to mimic the flavor, texture and appearance to cooked fresh crab. Real crab meat, like snow crab, is definitely a superior delicacy but incredibly expensive due to short supply and a high demand. In 2019, a record breaking single snow crab sold for $46,000 (or 5 million yen) at an auction in Japan!
How to adapt this simple potato salad
Since this is a simple vinaigrette dressed potato salad it’s incredibly easy to adapt. I personally love green beans in my potato salads, whether the garden variety or delicate French haricot verts (princess beans). Then comes the question of crunch. And for me the best way to achieve this is to add thinly sliced celery stalks and crisp slices of radishes. Sometimes I like to add some fresh cherry tomatoes and capers, and other times more herbs (like dill and parsley), or steamed asparagus or some roasted kernels of corn. Adaptable! So whether you are looking to experiment with surimi or looking for a simple and healthy potato salad, this recipe is a good starting point.
Looking for other potato salad inspiration?
Try one of these recipes:
- Easy Potato Salad Recipe (without Mayo)
- Mediterranean Potato Salad with Sumac Dressing
- Potato Salad with Smoked Fish
- Roasted Potato Salad with Capers & Lemon
- German Potato Salad with Cucumber
Simple Potato Salad with Surimi
For the salad:
- 300 g green beans, trimmed
- 700 g firm-cooking potatoes, scrubbed (I like Bamberger Hörnchen or new potatoes)
- 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 green onions, diced
- 200 g surimi, cut into 2cm pieces (see notes)
- generous handful fresh basil, slivered
For the dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt plus more to taste
- freshly ground pepper , to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard; then whisk in oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Add potatoes to a pot of cold water. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. Peel while warm, slice and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the warm potatoes and toss to coat (the potatoes will soak up some of the flavours of the dressing if still warm).
Note: if using thin-skinned new potatoes, feel free to leave the skin on.
Meanwhile, bring a second pot of water to a boil. Add beans and cook until barely tender and bright green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer immediately to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Drain, pat dry and cut in half.
Add the green beans, celery, radishes, green onion, surimi and basil to the bowl with the potatoes and dressing. Toss until well combined.
Adjust seasoning as desired, serve and enjoy.
- If you can pick up surimi fresh from your fish monger, I definitely recommend it, as it I think it’s superior in taste. Otherwise, look for it in larger, well-stocked supermarkets along with other packaged fish products. Otherwise, feel free to skip it and add a little sweet corn or steamed green asparagus.
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist on Spotify.
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