Remember back in January and February when we were all sitting by the fire, sipping a cup of hot tea and thinking “Summer can’t get here fast enough”?

Well, summer is here and with it comes the heat and humidity that makes the idea of spending lots of time in our kitchens standing next to a hot stove or oven less appealing. The good news is that you can make a wonderful meal and keep your cool at the same time.

On hot summer evenings, I often turn to the grill to keep my kitchen cool. While I love those meals, there are plenty of dishes that can be made inside without the assistance of fire.

Sandwiches and salads are the obvious choices when it comes to no-cook cooking. This past week, as temperatures soared, I made a dish that can fit both categories while still meeting the “keep it cool” theme.

I wanted to make a seafood salad that would be at home on a bed of lettuce and inside a sandwich roll.

But those types of salads tend to be on the bland side. Seafood salads often are simply cold, cooked seafood, usually shrimp or lobster, coated with an overly generous amount of mayonnaise. Although I’m a fan of both lobster and mayo, together they just aren’t flavorful enough to capture my interest. So, when I set about making my own version, I decided to interject a few ingredients you don’t typically find in a Maine lobster roll.

First, I like crab better than lobster, so I swapped out the star ingredient. If you prefer lobster or shrimp, feel free to swap them back in. Next, I added creamy avocado, which makes a great partner to any cold shellfish, as well as a touch of sweetness in the form of diced mango. A plain mayo dressing simply wouldn’t do for a salad this good, so I added some fresh lime juice and minced serrano chile, which gives a touch of heat. If you prefer yours on the milder side, just omit the chile.

The combination of the sea-salty crab, avocado and sweet mango, dressed in a light, citrusy dressing is irresistible.

I usually serve this salad on top of crisp Boston lettuce leaves, but I’ve also turned it into an appetizer by spooning into individual lettuce cups. It even makes a unique and delightful sandwich when tucked into a crusty or soft roll.

 

Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter ­at @meredithdeeds.

Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad With Chile and Lime Dressing

Serves 4.

Note: Cool and refreshing, this easy-to-make summer salad can be served on top of lettuce leaves as a light entree or spooned into individual lettuce cups as a fun appetizer. Or put it into a crusty roll for a different take on the seafood salad sandwich. If you prefer lobster or shrimp to crab, feel free to substitute. From Meredith Deeds.

• 3 tbsp. mayonnaise

• 2 tbsp. lime juice

 1 small shallot, finely chopped

 1 serrano chile, finely chopped

• 1 tsp. honey

• 1/4 tsp. salt

 8 oz. lump or special-grade crabmeat (see Note)

• 1 medium avocado, diced

• 1 medium mango, diced

• 3 tbsp. chopped cilantro

• Boston lettuce leaves

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, shallot, chile, honey and salt. Add the crab, avocado, mango and cilantro. Gently toss to coat.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving platter and top with the crab salad. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 240

Fat 14 g

Sodium 445 mg

Carbohydrates 19 g

Saturated fat 2 g

Total sugars 14 g

Protein 12 g

Cholesterol 60 mg

Dietary fiber 4 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 fruit, 1 ½ lean protein, 2 fat.