Decades ago, a friend of mine introduced me to what my young brain was sure had to be one of the fanciest home-cooked meals one could create.
He boiled some fettuccine noodles (far past al dente), added a jar of pre-made alfredo sauce and mixed in the coup de grâce: imitation crab.
I know. I know. I really needed to get out more.
My tastes have become just a bit more refined than they were in my younger days. That probably has something to do with having an adult paycheck, too, although I can’t prove it.
I couldn’t remember the last time I decided to invest in some imitation crab until last week, when I saw a video of someone creating what appeared to be an interesting, crispy snack with their air fryer. I had to give it a try.
The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Airfryer Masterchef.” You can find the original post at https://airfryermasterchef.com/air-fryer-crab-sticks/. I did change anything, since these were already so simple.
Air Fryer Crab Sticks
- 8 ounces leg style imitation crab
- olive oil
- Carefully unroll each “crab leg” into a thin sheet (just do a little feeling, and you’ll find the seam to unroll them).
- Cut the sheets into about one-fourth-inch strips and place them in a bowl.
- Once the crab is all sliced, drizzle on some olive oil (you want just enough to give each strip a very light coating) and sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Mix the strips to evenly coat them in oil and seasoning.
- Preheat your air fryer to 320 degrees and place a single layer of strips in the basket (you may need to do several batches). Fry for 15 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
- Once the strips are browned and crispy, remove them from the air fryer. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.
I thought these were pretty good and definitely an interesting way to eat imitation crab. They really just eat like potato chips as far as texture goes.
Joey was in the complete opposite camp. He tried several strips, hoping he might develop a taste for them, and he eventually announced he was out on the experiment.
I would say that if you can’t really stomach imitation crab in its normal form, you probably won’t like it in this one.
I do wonder if these would be improved with a little Old Bay seasoning instead of just salt and pepper. That’s probably what I’ll try with my next batch, since I still have some crab hanging out in my refrigerator.
I had to laugh, because after looking up what imitation crab is made of, I found an article that described it as being equivalent to a “seafood hot dog.” I guess it’s not quite as fancy as I once thought it was. I’ll just have to stick to making snack food with it instead.
This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 19, 2023.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.