I’ll cover centolla in more detail another day, but for now, so you know a little, it is like the Southern counterpart of Alaskan King Crab. Huge suckers that love cold water. The meat, sweet and succulent, is perfect on its own or in a variety of dishes. The problem is, like so many other great products in Argentina, the damn restaurants buy up all of the good quality stuff. I live in Tierra Del Fuego, the renowned location for centolla, yet what I buy in stores comes from up north in Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut. Anyway, it’s pretty much available, frozen of course, year round in a couple of stores.
Here’s a quick & easy salad that I make all the time. (Note: This is my own recipe, not an authentic regional one. Everyone has their own special recipe that often has totally different ingredients.)
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon vinegar*
1 Tablespoon lemon juice*
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 green onion; thinly sliced then chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 small green bell pepper; finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 large celery stalk; thinly sliced then chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 pound king crab meat (or any that you can get)
Salt to taste
Tabasco pepper sauce (optional)
Pick through the crab meat to remove any pieces of shell. Break up any claw or leg meat into smaller pieces. Set aside.
In a large non-reactive bowl mix together the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, and black pepper. Next, mix in the onion, pepper, parsley, and celery. Gently fold in the crab meat-you want it to be a little bit chunky if possible- and add salt to taste. *Add extra vinegar and lemon juice for a little more zing. Shake in some Tabasco to taste. (I know there are 10,000 other hot sauces out there that you may think are better but it just works in this case)
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Best if prepared the day before.