Crab is a favorite shellfish of the Portuguese, and one of the most famous dishes is santola no carro–a creamy crab salad served in its shell. This gazpacho recipe, from my friend and chef Fausto Airoldi, takes all those flavors and plunks them in the middle of this lesser-known but utterly refreshing soup.

Portuguese white gazpacho with crab salad in a green soup bowl with bowls and flatware in the background.

Portuguese White Gazpacho with Crab

5 from 1 vote
This luscious hybrid dish combines Portugal's fave shellfish, crab, with a white gazpacho for a refreshing dish with a little bit of delish richness.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories453 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


For the white gazpacho

  • 1 1/2 cups 3/4-inch (18-mm) cubes of day-old rustic white bread, crust removed
  • 2/3 cup unsalted blanched whole almonds
  • 1 small fennel bulb, stalks and core removed, bulb chopped; reserve a few of the frilly fronds for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 seedless English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • Leaves from 4 oregano sprigs
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the crab salad

  • 1 1/2 cups jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over and drained well
  • 1/2 small carrot, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or tawny Port
  • 1 teaspoon Piri-Piri Sauce, or store-bought hot sauce, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup plain milk mayonnaise, or more if needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups tender baby salad greens, (optional)


  • To make the white gazpacho, soak the bread cubes in cold water until softened, about 5 minutes. Squeeze dry with your hands.
  • Toss the almonds into a blender and pulse into a fine powder. Drop in the fennel, onion, cucumber, oregano, and 1 1/2 cups water and buzz on high until liquefied. Add the wet bread, oil, and vinegar and whir again until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Put the blender canister, covered, in the fridge for 3 hours, or up to 6 hours.
  • Meanwhile, toss together the crab, carrot, celery, brandy, and piri-piri sauce in a small bowl. Cover with plastic and refrigerate.
  • When ready to serve, fold the maionese de leite into the crab mixture and season with salt and pepper. If you want it a bit creamier, plop in another tablespoon or so of the maionese.
  • Whir the gazpacho in the blender for a few seconds to froth it again. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and pour it into a pitcher. Make a small bed of greens in the center of chilled bowls, top with the crab, and poke in a bit of fennel frond. Place the bowls in front of your guests and pour the gazpacho around the crab.
The New Portuguese Table by

Adapted From

The New Portuguese Table

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 453 kcalCarbohydrates: 38 gProtein: 18 gFat: 26 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 22 mgSodium: 769 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 6 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 David Leite. Photo © 2010 Nuno Correia. All rights reserved.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Italian Sausage Soup

This Italian sausage soup is a cozy one-pot meal that’s laden with sweet sausage, tender gnocchi, spinach and topped with crispy pancetta.

30 mins

Gnocchi Soup with Bacon and Cheese

Who can resist a comforting bowl of tender gnocchi in a creamy, cheesy broth that’s laden with crispy bacon and plenty of vegetables? Not us.

1 hr 15 mins

Corn and Roasted Poblano Soup

Our testers are calling this creamy, comforting bowl of sweet corn and roasted poblano soup “the essence of summertime”. We couldn’t agree more.

1 hr 45 mins

5 from 1 vote

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This tastes like a brand new spring day when all your dreams are coming true. Like detoxing your soul. Like finding the missing. This recipe thinks your’re great. You should make this probably right now.

    1. Leisha, I’m gobsmacked! I, too, love this recipe, and my guests always ask for it. So it’s delightful to see someone else loving it as much as I do.

  2. This looks like one of the most appealing recipes I’ve seen in a long time! Looking forward to trying it sometime soon. I love ajo blanco (cold garlic and almond soup). and I love basically anything with crab… I’m sure it’ll be amazing!