Here is another classic family recipe from my trip home. My Dad has been making this pasta salad for over 30 years. It originated in Naples, Florida where my Dad and his late brother would go every year to a family beach house. He would make this pasta salad every year but my Uncle could never pronounce the name of the imitation crab, Surimi. So overtime Surimi became squirmy and this salad was named squirmy salad.
I request this salad every time I go home in the summer because it’s perfect for a hot day. The crunch of the peppers and celery, the tartness from the lime, and a crab in every bite. My Dad also makes a ton of it and we eat it as a snack or a side to lunch throughout the week. This past week we ate it along side some tomato biscuits.
The recipe as I’m presenting it is how my Dad makes it when I’m home and it makes a lot. Cut the recipe to make however much you want. My Dad also doesn’t measure anything when he cooks, so the amounts I’m giving will be approximate and it will be necessary to taste and adjust.
Some recipe notes from my Dad: When you are picking the celery, try to get one that has some leaves because the leaves have the best flavor. Lime juice is better in this then lemon juice. Only use the green part of the onion because the white part is too over powering for this salad. You can add some cooked shrimp too.
Imitation crab pasta salad aka “squirmy salad”
Serves: 6-8 as a main
Prep time: 20 minutes
Chill time: a few hours
2 16oz. boxes of tri-color rotini pasta
3 8oz. packages of imitation crab (surimi)
1 yellow, red and orange bell pepper, diced
4-5 green onions, green part only
1 head of celery with the leaves, finely chopped to about 3/4 of the way down
Salt and pepper
1/2 – 3/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice from about 2-3 limes
Cook the pasta according to the instructions. When the pasta is al dente, strain it and immediately place in cold water with some ice cubes.
Once the pasta is chilled, add it to a large bowl. Break apart the crab meat and add the peppers and onions. Finely slice the celery starting at the top and go down to about 3/4 from the bottom. Be sure to add the leaves because they have the most flavor! Season with salt and pepper, add the mayo and lime juice and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Place in the fridge and chill until cold and crisp.