NOTES: This citrusy crab salad on crunchy cucumber rounds makes a refreshing appetizer. You can prepare through step 3 up to 3 hours ahead. Cover crab mixture and lime-juice mixture separately; chill until ready to serve.
1 or 2 stalks fresh lemon grass (each 10 to 12 in. long) or 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel (yellow part only)
12 fresh or thawed frozen kaffir lime leaf sections (each 1 1/2 to 2 in. long) or 1 tablespoon grated lime peel (green part only)
1/3 pound shelled cooked crab
1/4 cup thinly slivered shallots
1 tablespoon finely shredded carrot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Thai roasted-chili paste (purchased or homemade)
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce or salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
About 8 ounces English cucumber
How to Make It
Rinse lemon grass. Cut off and discard tough tops and root ends; peel off and discard tough outer green layers of stalks down to tender white parts. Finely chop enough to make 1/4 cup.
Rinse kaffir lime leaves. Stack three or four leaves at a time and cut crosswise into very fine shreds.
In a bowl, mix lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, crab, shallots, carrot, cilantro, mint, and green onion. In a small bowl, mix lime juice, chili paste, fish sauce (but not salt, if using), and sugar.
Just before serving, stir lime-juice mixture into crab mixture. If not using fish sauce, add salt to taste. Rinse cucumber and cut crosswise into about 24 rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Top each slice with a scant tablespoon crab mixture.