West Indies Salad - Gastro Obscura

Prepared Foods

West Indies Salad

It's actually a crab dish from Alabama's Gulf Coast.

In 1947, at an eatery on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, Bill Bayley invented something he called a “West Indies salad.” The enterprising restauranteur used cider vinegar, vegetable oil, and yellow onion to transform lump crabmeat into a tangy, flavorful salad. The dish made use of local waters’ plentiful crab supply, while the name was meant to transport diners to the shores of the West Indies islands. 

Before long, the salad—which doesn’t even require ingredients from the West Indies—became popular in Alabama, and the dish remains a staple at long-standing seafood houses today. O, The Oprah Magazine calls it one of the best things to eat in the state, and describes the finished product as “a sweet-sour dish as refreshing as an afternoon on a porch swing.” Tasters agree that superior renditions marinate for at least 24 hours before serving, such as the version you can find at Wintzell’s Oyster House, a Mobile, Alabama, eatery that’s been in operation since its inception as a six-seat oyster bar in 1938.

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