Food You Can Eat: Avocados with Crab Filling

Image via Gourmet Magazine

I have two things to say. First of all, I’m basically telling you how to make a variation of a tuna fish sandwich, for all the complexity it involves. Second, I first had this in Britain, not California, and who knew avocados were so popular there, but they show up all over the place, or they did in the early 1990s. 

This is mid-century, I later learned. It is deceptively rich. You’ll wonder why I’m not advising you to make at least twice as much, judging by my previous contributions, but believe me, this is all you’ll need. There’s a note after the ingredients list.


2 of the largest avocados you can find. Or four smaller ones, for the apprehensive.

2 6-oz cans of lump crab

5 or 6 tbs. mayonnaise

1 tbs. mild mustard

1 plum tomato, diced

A little salt

A little pepper

NOTE: Avocados are as bad as bananas when it comes to ripeness. One minute they’re too raw. Five or six hours later they’re perfect. Five or six hours after that they’re too mushy to work for this. The mayo, for once, should not be too eggy. Bring out the Hellmann’s and bring out the best. The mustard should be mild; again, not something I usually recommend. Where is the garlic Cousin Matthew? Nowhere to be found, not for this. I’ve tried it, it doesn’t work for me. 


Working somewhat backward from my ingredients list, to a bowl add the mayo, mustard, diced tomato, and salt and pepper the whole thing. I don’t like using a metal bowl for this, just FYI. The amount of mayo (and the small amount of mustard for that matter) will depend upon your tolerance. Use less if you want a more crabby filling. Mix this around so it blends.

Open your cans of crab and using the lid as a press drain as much of the water as you can. This is important. You want the mix to be as firm as possible and crab juice does nothing to improve this. It has many uses but this is not one of them. Gently, fork the crab into the mix and with the fork try to coat/mix the crab without breaking it up too much. You want it to be as lumpy as possible.

Put your avocados on two plates. DO NOT PEEL THEM. Slice them in half carefully and break them into halves. (I will refrain from commenting on an article I read two or three years ago about 20- and 30-something New Yorkers following the brief avocado toast craze and provoking a surge in hospital room visits because they couldn’t slice their own avocados.) Take out the stone in the center. Use something like a paring knife, not something like a butter knife.

With that fork (why make more work for yourself) fill the avocados with the crab meat mixture. Make a small mountain of it. You’re done.

You might have leftover crab mixture. In fact I recommend you up the ingredient amounts and make too much. The mixture makes for a nice crab dip. It doesn’t keep for long in the fridge, though, so eat up!



  1. Two of my favorite foods — crab meat and avocado — together. This has to be awesome. Will be trying this during the holidays, definitely.
    Thank you for posting! And extended thanks to everyone who has posted recipes — my food recipe library has definitely expanded!

  2. I’ve been hovering, waiting for this. I write the contributions in advance, and only within the last week did I realize that avocado passions run so high. This was already scheduled so it might be a flame war foretold. 
    If you want a little more memoir, read on. If not, skip.
    The last time I made this I asked The Better Half, “Do you remember the first time we had avocado that wasn’t in guacamole?”
    “No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.” 
    [Backstory but we were in LA, I was seated next to Burgess Meredith in a restaurant in Santa Monica, but that was just part of a longer trip.]
    “We got up at the crack of dawn and I had been told that the traffic was bad so we got out of LA and found that place on the way to Santa Barbara. I think it was in Ventura County somewhere, it was right on the Pacific and we ordered omelets and it came with sliced avocados. And bean sprouts. I’ve never gotten the point of bean sprouts.”
    “It was the 80s, Mattie. I just remember that it was freezing when we left but in California it was perfect, warm, dry…”
    “That was the best. And then we got to Santa Barbara, that was fun, more avocados and bean sprouts.”
    “There was that weird museum.” “It was their art museum, and it was very good. But that featured exhibit was–even I can’t remember that.”
    “And then, Mattie, you insisted on driving, and it took hours.”
    “We needed to go inland to the 5 and we made good time there.”
    “And you got pulled over not once but twice for speeding.”
    “Well, everyone else was, I don’t know why they singled out us. Anyway, when I showed the officers, and by the way Erik Estrada was so hot on CHiPs, my out-of state license and rental car with non-California plates and all the paperwork they let us go, didn’t they?”
    “You could talk the paint off walls. If we were ever in a hostage situation they’d either kill us first or release us first just to get rid of you.”
    Then we got to San Francisco for the first time. That’s another story.

  3. Thanks for this post!

    Crab was the only seafood I liked before changing my eating habits so younger me would have loved this.

    I definitely wouldn’t want to take anything away from your wonderful recipe but – for those in a lazy mood – this is actually a fantastic recipe even if you remove the crab, mayo, plum tomato, mustard, salt, and pepper!

  4. This was our appetizer the last time we were at a restaurant (in February). It was awkwardly served in a martini glass, but still delicious. As I’m sure this is! 

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