One of my favorite approaches to cooking is variations on a theme, particularly when working with the same ingredients to create distinct dishes. With summer’s bounty at hand, I couldn’t resist combining two of my favorite shellfish—incredibly versatile Louisiana blue crab and shrimp—with earthy artichokes in a recipe that could readily double as an appetizer or side dish. Include some juicy ripe heirloom tomatoes, and you’re in summer-food heaven with this Crab Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta Salad.
Let your taste and budget decide whether to choose claw, lump, or jumbo lump crabmeat. While the lump and jumbo lump taste similar, the claw meat has a more pronounced flavor. Marinated artichokes work well in the salad because the marinade becomes an ingredient in the dressing.
This dish is easy to prepare, especially if you’ve purchased peeled and deveined shrimp and jumbo lump crab. The pasta salad comes together simply. Basil, king of the summer herb garden, and other fresh seasonings enhance each dish without overpowering the delicate flavors of the seafood. This Crab Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta Salad is excellent for a casual luncheon or dinner. Packed in a cooler, it’s also great for a picnic.
- 1 pound shells or other bite-size pasta, cooked and drained
- 1 pound well-seasoned boiled or steamed shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked free of shells
- 1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped and liquid reserved
- 2 large ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and chopped
- 2 Creole or heirloom tomatoes, halved, seeded, and chopped, or 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- ½ bunch green onions, finely chopped
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh lemon basil (see note)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Ground black pepper
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- In a large bowl, combine pasta, shrimp, crab, artichokes, avocado, tomatoes, and green onion.
- In a small bowl, combine basil, chives, parsley, reserved artichoke liquid, and mustard. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking to combine.
- Pour dressing over pasta mixture, tossing gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with cheese.
- For lemon basil, substitute 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil and 1 teaspoon lemon zest.