Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa: a 60’s Retro-Recipe

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This Retro 60’s Appetizer/Salad, the Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa, is a seriously yummy way to to enjoy canned lump crab meat, or fresh crab meat, if you’ve got the budget for it. And I know a secret tip I’ll share with you, that will eliminate the strong fishy smell you often find in canned lump crab meat. 


Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa

See the little bits of “mimosa”/egg yolk and parsley that are sprinkled over the top? Amazing how much flavor they add!

A Recipe from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

 You’ll find the recipe for this salad in the cookbook:  The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook.  Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa is a recipe developed by the White House chef to the Kennedy family. The dish is made with two of my most favorite ingredients: avocado, and crabmeat. With the expertise of a White House chef, and ingredients like those, you really can’t go wrong!

It’s funny how the recipe I’ve chosen to share ties in perfectly with both the TV show Mad Men, (which is, at the time I’m writing this, entering its last season) and with the Kennedy White House. I love it when a recipe has a story, so to share this fabulous dish with you, I thought I would begin by telling you the story I see that connects this recipe to the show itself.

Both A Show, And A Recipe, From The Kennedy Years

Mad Men is first and foremost a period drama. In each episode, we see the impact of the volatile decade of the 1960’s on the lives of the main characters. The series begins, in fact, in March of 1960, during the time in which the Kennedys are running for office. 

What was it that drew us so, to Jack and Jackie Kennedy ?  They possessed beauty, glamour, and sophistication, as well as wit, ease, style and grace . All these qualities attracted us, as a nation, like moths to the Kennedy flame. The era of their administration was, in many ways, Camelot, incarnate.

John_and_Jackie_Kennedy, at their wedding

Jack and Jackie Kennedy, at their wedding

What captivated us, more than anything,  was the dream – the image we believed we were seeing. Accurate or not, they possessed that special *thing* that so many of us long for. They had, for want of a better word,  “it”.

Like Jack and Jackie, in the fictional world of Mad Men, Don and Betty Draper looked like the bride and groom cake topper atop the Wedding Cake of Life. With Betty by his side, Don Draper brought the magic of Camelot to Madison Avenue. As a couple, they were imbued with the stuff that Ad Men attempt to crank out from that famous street.  Don was handsome, brilliant, powerful, the undisputed lord of the realm, much like President Kennedy in real life. Betty, similar in her patrician beauty to the First Lady, possessed every outward quality needed to be the rightful consort to such a hero. She was the fitting female accessory to drape on Draper’s arm. 

We’re drawn to the glamour of Don and Betty, but it’s the hidden frailties of the characters that keep us glued to the storyline. We root for the redemption of the anti-hero who built his house on shifting sand. We see his victimization as a child. In his adult life, we catch glimpses of deep compassion in Don, as he witnesses and identifies with human frailties and failings in others. We are drawn to him in those moments of basic goodness. We long for that side of Don to prevail! 

I’ve spent far too many episodes wishing and hoping for Betty to grow up and become the kind of woman that could truly love and accept Don – the Don I hoped that he might some day grow up to be.


That’s not going to happen this season, either, is my guess. I’m betting it’s Peggy’s turn: that she and Don will discover that they are, indeed, meant to be. She has needed to mature into who she was going to be, and Don has needed to learn to value the kind of woman that could actually make him happy. So…my money’s on Peggy, this season, and I’m not afraid to put my prediction out there.

Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa

Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa pairs nicely with a chilled glass of your favorite white.

IN THE MEANTIME.. on to the recipe!

I  wanted to make something really delicious from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, because I like *all* my recipes, in fact, to actually BE delicious! I’m happy to say that this one fit that criterion. When I saw that this recipe had been developed by the White House chef René Verdon, the French chef hired by Jacqueline Kennedy at the White House, I figured it had to be good.

And that’s why my thoughts wandered to the Kennedys, as I sat down to share a recipe related to the TV series, Mad Men. 

The Avocado Mimosa Showed Up On Mad Men

Betty Draper ordered a dish similar to this one in Season 2, episode 1, when she and Don were staying at the Savoy hotel on Valentine’s Day. From room service, she ordered an avocado half stuffed with crab meat. As she was ordering her meal, Jackie Kennedy was on TV, giving the nation a televised tour of the White House. See how it all fits together, seamlessly? Jack & Jackie, Don & Betty… and Avocado & Crab – which truly are two of my most favorite foods in the whole world. Elegant, and classic, this recipe is the perfect metaphor for what Don and Betty represent. 

Isn’t A Mimosa a Cocktail?

The recipe’s name, “mimosa“, refers not to the orange juice/champagne cocktail with which many Americans are familiar, but to the French name for deviled eggs, which is Oeufs Mimosa (or Eggs Mimosa). Since the topping is made from the yolk of a hard cooked egg, I imagine that’s what Chef Verdon had in mind when he gave this recipe its title.

I love the creaminess of the avocado, the brightness of the lemon juice, and the little zing that the horseradish brings to the party. I’ve never made a salad with watercress before, but I found its delicate crunchiness in absolutely perfect balance with the creaminess of the avocado and mayonnaise. 

Use Fresh Crab Meat If You Can; If Not, Here’s My Tip

Fresh crabmeat is the best, but, if you can’t afford fresh, (and not many of us can at $20.00 a pound), you can get away with using canned lump crabmeat by using this simple trick that I learned from Cook’s Illustrated: drain the crabmeat well – you’ll want to get as much of that water out of it as you can, and then soak your crabmeat for about an hour in a cup of milk. Then squeeze the milk out, and the crabmeat is ready to be used in this recipe. It will really cut the fishy smell/taste that canned crab meat has.

I also found that, for seasoning, instead of just salt and pepper, that I enjoyed adding a bit of garlic salt to the egg yolks. (It’s the seasoning I typically use when I make guacamole.)

Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa

Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa: a recipe fit for a president.

Yield: 6 servings

Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa

Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa

A delicious retro recipe of avocado and crabmeat, that can serve as a luncheon salad or dinner appetizer,


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Ground white pepper
  • 8 ounces cooked fresh crabmeat
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 2 hard-cooked egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt


  1.  Peel half of one avocado. In a small bowl, mash avocado half. Add scallion, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and hot pepper sauce. Stir until well combined. Reserve.
  2. In separate bowl, stir together mayonnaise, chili sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and remaining teaspoon lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Reserve.
  3. Peel remaining 1 1/2 avocados, cut into half-inch cubes, and place in a large bowl.
  4. Squeeze excess moisture from crabmeat. Add to cubed avocado and gently combine. Fold in mayonnaise mixture until crab and avocado are evenly coated.
  5. Line bottoms of 6 chilled, open champagne glasses or small glass serving dishes with watercress. Divide crab mixture evenly among glasses. Top each with a dollop of mashed avocado mixture.
  6. Sprinkle egg yolks with garlic salt. Press egg yolks through fine mesh sieve; combine with parsley in a small bowl. Sprinkle yolk/parsley mixture evenly over each portion. Mimosas can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 hours.


  • Crab meat that has a slight fishy odor can be soaked for one hour in a cup of milk, prior to preparing this recipe. This will help neutralize the fishy odor.
  • I found that a sprinkling of Lawry's Garlic Salt with Parsley really revved up the flavor of the boiled egg yolk and parsley sprinkle.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 542mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 5gSugar: 2gProtein: 10g


What recipe do you think of, when you think of the 60’s? How about fondue? An Authentic Swiss Fondue totally floats my boat, and you really need to check out my recipe! 
And, please, share this post with your friends who might enjoy it! Tweet it on twitter! Or, pin the recipe on Pinterest!


  1. Sounds absolutely delish! Can't wait to try it! When I think of the 60's, I think of jello concoctions for some reason. Would much rather have avocado and crab!

  2. Christi P. says

    What a genius concept for a virtual dinner party! When I think of the 60's, I think of questionable things floating in lime Jello molds! Your contribution looks simply lovely, Susan (and way more elegant than olives and shrimp floating in green gelatin).

    • One of the weird parts of '60's cuisine was America's fascination with the space age, technology, and convenience.
      Jello molds were an unfortunate outcome of that fascination, in my opinion.

  3. A Well Styled Life says

    I'd love to see your prediction about Betty come true! It seems the best "happy ending.
    I frequently use the canned crab but didn't know about the milk tip. Thanks for the heads up…rinsing in water just doesn't cut it. What's not to love in this recipe? Crab and avacado perfection. I'm thinking it will be a great starter for my dinner party this weekend! Thanks Susan.

    • This show has not been big on happy endings, has it?
      It's more often wistful, and a bit tragic.
      But now, my predictions are on the record. We'll see how they hold up as the season unfolds.

  4. This sounds delicious, decadent, and perfect for the 60s dream as we all imagine…

    The recipe that comes to mind for me is one i received from a lovely woman who was a realtor and managed our purchase of our first home. She was a widow, but a strong, independent spirit whom I got to know a bit and treasured. She made the recipe for us and served us drinks at her home prior to taking us to dinner to celebrate our new home.

    The recipe is called Crabmeat Puffs. They’re made with quartered English muffins (crumpets), Olde English cheese, crabmeat, and other ingredients.

    I’m happy to be entered to win this cookbook. I think I’d really enjoy it

  5. I LOVE Mad Men!
    And thanks for sharing your yummy recipe Susan.
    My recent post Skinny Chicken with Raspberry-Balsamic Sauce

  6. bakinginatornado says

    I'm one of the few people I know who haven't seen Mad Men yet. I say yet because it's definitely on my to-do list.
    The recipe you chose has ingredients that I love as well, in fact the same two that you love. Going to have to try this one.
    My recent post Sympathy for the Devil

  7. You lost me at mayo! I love that era in history, now I need to check out Mad Men!

  8. Martha Franco says

    <3 this! And I'd love to actually eat it, but alas, I'm allergic to shellfish. Waaaaaa! 🙁
    I can't really think of any foods that remind me of the 60's. Casseroles perhaps?
    Or anything French by Julia Child!

    • She had a HUGE impact on cuisine, and on this country! Can't think of anyone more influential toward American cuisine in that era! This cookbook has her recipe for Potatoes au Gratin, too!

  9. Dina Eisenberg says

    One of my favority summer time recipes. Don't you love that it comes in it's own little bowl. I'm not a Mad Men fan but I do love this dish

  10. <div class="idc-message" id="idc-comment-msg-div-960986947"><a class="idc-close" title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(960986947)"><span>Close Message</span> Comment posted. <p class="idc-nomargin"><a class="idc-share-facebook" target="_new" href="https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2 Fwww.thatsusanwilliams.com%2F2015%2F03%2Favocado-and-crabmeat-mimosat-at-the-mad-men-finale-virtual-dinner-party%2F%23idc-cover#IDComment960986947&t=I%20just%20commented%20on%20Avocado%20and%20Crabmeat%20Mimosa%20at%20the%20Mad%20Men%20Finale%20Virtual%20Dinner%20Party%20%E2%80%94%20That%20Susan%20Williams" style="text-decoration: none;"><span class="idc-share-inner"><span>Share on Facebook</span></span> or <a href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(960986947)">Close MessageOh maybe now I can comment. I have such a hard time figuring out how to comment,

    60's recipes make me think of casseroles with cream of ick soup and hamburger helper and canned vegetables and Swanson's TV dinners and Oscar Meyer Bologna. My mom didn't cook from scratch. I don't eat those things now, but that's what 60's food makes me think of.

    I've never seen Mad Men and don't know what it's about.

  11. The recipe sounds delicious! I can't wait to try it and add Madmen to the list of "Mindless TV Watching So I Can Knit" List.

  12. The 60s? Fried bologne (or was that more 70s?) and jello salads. My MIL called the latter "congealed salads". Maybe that is regional? That name grosses me out, though. 🙂

  13. Sounds delicious! Crabmeat and avocado…two of my favorite things!

  14. imnotasupermom says

    My mother used to always make a pistachio gelatin mold in the shape of a fish as the showstopping centerpiece of any ladies' lunch or bridge party.

  15. Crab meat ANYTHING is delish!

  16. Elizabeth Lee says

    Sounds yummy! I love crab and avocado!
    My recent post 7 Things I Loved About BAMC15

  17. I think of every kind of jello salad possible! But your writing about eggs, reminded me that my mother often made Creamed Eggs on Toast. It was some kind of creamy egg mixture ladled over white bread toast. It may not sound great, but I remember liking it. What I did NOT like was the slimy canned asparagus that was sometimes layered on top of the toast and topped with the eggs. Even now the thought of slimy canned asparagus makes me cringe!

    • I remember that dish, Caryl!!!
      And I always thought I hated asparagus, because I had never had fresh asparagus as a kid.
      Only that nasty, slimy canned/jarred stuff. Hideous!!!

  18. Candace Karu says

    Love the hack for canned crabmeat…can't wait to try that. Related: You know A LOT about Mad Men. I may have to go back and check it out!

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