Deconstructed California Roll

Deconstructed California Roll

Listen. I’m not that into cutesy foods (with one exception). I’ll never cut my watermelon into flower shapes. I could care less about berry-donned American-flag cakes. I don’t believe I’ve ever once consumed a cake pop. However, I recently started making something that’s so damn Instagrammable that I may need to retire my status as an anti-adorable eater: the deconstructed California Roll.

This party snack was born out of the desire for an hor d'oeuvres that is freaking delicious, but doesn’t fill you up. Don’t get me wrong—I love cheese, I just literally have no self control around it and can’t eat a pound of it every time I have people over. Instead, I serve up this pile of creamy avocado, delicate crab and shrimp, tangy greek yogurt, and spicy Sriracha. It’s substantial, but it doesn’t make you want to die; it’s fusiony, which makes it extra versatile; and it can be made (mostly) ahead of time, so it doesn’t take up time when your guests arrive. Which means that while, yes, this dish is rather cute, most importantly, it’s smart.

California roll, hold the roll.

Let’s be honest, a California Roll was probably the first sushi you ever tried—and it’s still delicious. This is a general crowd pleaser. The key is this: Ready all the individual components before your guests arrive and put it together once they’re there. If you plate it up too soon, the moisture in the crab-shrimp mixture will run and ruin your lovely presentation. Keep everything separate until you want to eat. In my opinion, the best dishes for hosting parties come together this way.

Time: 20 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Serves: A perfect party platter for about 10 people
Drink: Rosé. A super crisp, super dry bottle of pink. (Or a simple, cold sake!)

  • ½ pound lump crab meat, chopped
  • ½ pound shrimp, chopped
  • 1 large Persian cucumber, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt (I use Fage for the firmer texture)
  • 1 tbs Sriracha, or more to taste
  • 3 medium-sized, super-ripe avocados
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Furikake, for garnish
  • Soy sauce, for garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Rice crackers for dipping!

  • 1. Mix crab, shrimp, yogurt, Sriracha, and cucumber in a large bowl.
    Cover with plastic and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to plate.


    2. Prep and plate the avocado and rice crisps
    Peel and remove core from avocado. Slice thinly on the diagonal.

    Spread the avocado slices along a large plate or platter, covering the entire plate with a single layer of avocado. Only double up once the entire thing is covered. Flake lightly with Maldon salt.

    Add some rice crisps for dipping.

    3. Add crab
    Pile the crab-shrimp mixture in the middle of the plate into a mound, leaving an outer ring of avocado to look pretty.

    4. Season
    Top the crab mixture aggressively with furikake and drizzle the entire thing with soy sauce.

    5. Serve!
    Serve ’er up with some soy sauce and chopsticks!

    IMG_0440 2.jpg

    Um, excuse me?

    I don't like [insert crab or shrimp], what should I do?
    You can easily replace one with the other! Crab can be very expensive, so we off set that with mixing in shrimp. However, using just one of these ingredients is totally fine. If you don't like either, or can't eat shellfish, this could also be delicious with raw, sushi-grade tuna or salmon. 

    I don't love seafood, can I use something else entirely?
    I actually think chicken salad would be delicious here!

    What the fuck is furikake?
    Let me Google that for you!

    Can I make the crab salad thing way in advance?
    Maybe not waaaaay in advance, but you can definitely make this before your guests arrive! Seafood is best when it's at its freshest, so I like to buy mine the day before of the day of an event. However, this salad will totally last three days in the fridge, no problem. 

    Grandma Follansbee’s German Potato Salad

    Grandma Follansbee’s German Potato Salad

    Surplus Summer Squash? Make Pizza!

    Surplus Summer Squash? Make Pizza!