West Indies Salad

Bayley’s Restaurant, just south of Mobile, is the

Mother Church of Alabama Seafood and the creator

of tart and succulent West Indies Salad. I had visited

the unassuming restaurant with family in my youth

but the most memorable experience for me was an

invitation to the Alabama Society Dinner in

Washington D.C. during the Nixon Inaugural.

It was a catered affair with the state’s Congressional

delegation and staff partaking of Bayley’s best.

Not only had they brought vats of West Indies Salad,

but everything else on their menu, along with

Spanish moss and buckets of camellias from

Bellingrath Gardens to decorate the

venue. It was a very special time for a homesick

Naval officer. This is my adaptation of WIS.

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 ounces of unfiltered olive oil

3 ounces of rice vinegar

4 ounces of ice water

2 tablespoons of capers

1 pound of lump crabmeat

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Layer the onions, crabmeat, and capers in a stoneware

crock or stainless steel container and stir the liquids

together before pouring over the mixture. Place in a

refrigerator for at least two hours and no more than

twelve. Serve with toasted saltines.