What Are the Best Sides to Serve With Crab?
Did you know that researchers working on the southern coast of South Africa in a cave discovered edible shellfish (almost a bowl's worth) dating back to about 165,000 years ago? That seems to be the earliest known seafood dinner to date!
It gives you a new perspective on that plate of crab legs you were thinking about consuming for dinner tonight, doesn't it?
If you are planning a crab dinner for all that succulent, sweet, juicy goodness, but unsure of what the best sides would be, keep reading our article below!
Potato Dishes of All Kinds
Good ol' potatoes! They truly are the kind of side dish that will go with anything and everything. And they are so easy to whip up.
Also, crab legs are best eaten by hand. So choose sides that can be eaten by hand as well, so you can amp up the enjoyment even more. Let's look at some particular potato dishes that would go well with your decadent crab legs dinner.
French fries, either ready-made from the packet or hand-cut, are the perfect accompaniment for crab legs. You can add many different flavorings on top to enhance the fries, like truffle oil, paprika, or cajun powder, and more. Or you can keep it simple and serve it with a bit of salt on top.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Since crab itself is a bit sweet, having creamy mashed potatoes which have a little sweetness to them is a great add-on. Or you can use garlic butter and sour cream to give it that added punch.
Cold Potato Salad
If you would like a cold sidedish, then a potato salad made either out of mashed potatoes or chunky ones is a great idea. You can add garlic, red onions, herbs, carrots, and some yummy mustard to make a potato salad that's out of this world. Make sure to leave it in the fridge before dinner, so you don't have to wait for it to cool down before serving the crab leg dinner.
Crab legs can be a decadent dinner with lots of butter, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs sprinkled on top. If you would like to balance out this extravagance, with some healthy options, then steamed vegetables are the thing to make.
It's easy enough to do - figure out which vegetables your family likes, or which ones you wished they ate, and steam them right before serving dinner.
Corn on the cob is delicious and a great side to tack on to your crab leg dinner. You can either keep it simple by steaming corn on the cob with a bit of butter and salt, or you can spice it up by using paprika or other spices.
You could also make a salad out of steamed corn, by adding some beans, jalapenos, red onions, vinegar, and olive oil. Voila!
Fresh or Steamed Artichoke
Artichokes are chockful of many good-for-you nutrients but are sadly a vegetable that is discounted when it comes to decadent crab dinners. If you have never tried artichoke (steamed or fresh) with crab, you are missing out.
It's the ultimate finger food and it has a subtle flavor that won't overpower the deliciousness of the crab. There are also so many different ways of preparing artichoke - you can roast them with herbs or garlic, or bake them with olive oil and lemon juice. Try out different renditions and see what works best when serving crab with it.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
If you are like the typical American family, you are probably not getting enough vegetables in your daily diet. Maybe you are having to sneak vegetables into your family dinners, because of picky, whining eaters.
But with crab legs being the main course, you could add roasted Brussel sprouts to the mix, and get your family that necessary fiber and nutrient boost they could all do with.
Didn't see this one coming, did ya? Well, deviled eggs aren't popular sides when thinking of crab dinners.
BUT, they are an easy way of adding more protein and nutrients to your dinner, while adding smashing flavor. They are also an easy finger food that goes along well with crab legs.
You could cook it classically by mixing mayo, vinegar, and mustard with egg yolks and dusting with paprika. Or you could use avocado or lemon to add a green twist to this well-known dish. If you like spice, you could add jalapeno peppers, buffalo, or Sriracha sauce, to the deviled eggs to get things hot.
As you can see, there are many ways to dress up your deviled eggs, so that it appeals not only to your taste buds but to the entire crab leg dinner.
With all that juicy and succulent crab meat, butter, and lemon juice floating around, you might think you are in heaven and don't need anything else. Well, you could keep it as simple as can be, by adding some crusty bread to your dinner and using it to soak up all that buttery goodness.
If you wish to add some extra fiber to your meal, then go for the whole-grain option. French baguettes or brioche buns would be another option to consider.
You might think that pasta would be overkill when it comes to crab leg dinners, but sometimes you are trying to make a small crab leg dinner go a long way. Perhaps you have a huge family and you want to feed them on the cheap while allowing them some crab leg decadence.
Try adding pasta to the mix and see how your dinner guests' eyes and stomachs light up with joy. You can make pasta as simply as you can, only adding a bit of garlic, olive oil, and butter. Or you could use a tomato sauce and use some crusty bread and crab legs to soak up the tomatoey goodness.
There are always myriad ways to cook and dress pasta. It all depends on what your family's tastes are geared towards and you would know that best as the main cook of the family.
A simple tossed green salad is easy to whip up and a great addition to a crab leg dinner. All those fresh greens with a drizzle of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil for the healthy fats), and lemon juice, is just the ticket when it comes to adding flavor and fiber to your meal.
If you are feeling extra creative, you could add some grilled vegetables to your salad, like zucchinis, onions, mushrooms, or bell peppers. Maybe you could even try a simple grilled asparagus salad with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice drizzled on top.
The best pairings for a crab leg dinner have to be cocktail sauces. There are so many options to choose from here. Like:
- Melted garlic butter is the easiest and most common option
- Beurre blanc is a creamy option to try
- Worchestershire sauce with horseradish, lemon, and pepper
- Mayonnaise, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and a pinch of dill
- Lemon butter (brown some lemon juice with butter)
- Ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tabasco sauce with lemon
- Sriracha with mayo and lemon juice
- And more
There are so many different ways to mix and match sauces to create the combination that suits you best. Keep experimenting until you hit something you love and then go with that when you don't feel like cooking any additional sides. You are allowed to be lazy sometimes!
You might think that crab is already such a high-calorie option that adding a dessert to it would be overkill. BUT if you are eating a crab leg dinner because it's a special occasion and you wish to celebrate in style, dinner without dessert would be no celebration at all.
You could keep it simple with ice cream, or you could try lemony desserts, like key lime pie, lemon cheesecake, creamy lemon squares, or lemon meringue pie. Freshly cut fruit, or angel food or white cake with fruit and honey piled on top is also a great option.
The Best Sides Will Differ From Family to Family
The great about serving side dishes with crab is that you don't have to stick to a particular agenda or plan. You can mix and match the best sides as you desire.
It's also important not to get stuck into stereotyping foods and thinking that some foods will never go with crab, without trying it even once.
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