Fresh Papaya with Lump Crab & Paprika

By March 7, 2017Food

By: Lisa Vanderpump


This is one of my favorite dishes – it’s actually on the menu at Pump! This appetizer is so delicious and extremely impressive to serve, perhaps because the papaya is a natural bowl. I like to garnish the dish with pistachios for an added crunch, brightly colored berries or edible flowers – anything that adds an amazing pop of color!


3 ripe Papayas (see our note at the bottom for finding the right papaya!)

¼ cup light mayonnaise

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped

1/8 tsp paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large tomato, diced

1 pound Jumbo lump crabmeat (picked over for cartilage and shells)

Shelled pistachios

Berries and micro greens to garnish.


1. Cut each papaya in half, then cut a strip off the opposite side, so the papaya will site flat on the plate without rolling around. Scoop out the seeds.

2. Mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, paprika, salt, and pepper together. Carefully fold in the crabmeat and tomatoes.

3. Scoop into papaya halves, sprinkle with salt and pepper, garnish with mint and berries, and serve.

Note on Papayas:

You’ll want a perfectly ripe papaya, nice and juicy. The best way to get a good one is to ask the grocer. Tell them exactly when you want to eat it (be specific- this Wednesday at 3:30pm) and they’ll help you find fruit that will be ripe at that exact time. If you can’t find such an expert, look for papaya that is still firm and green with some yellow. It should ripen fully in about 2 days just sitting on your counter. Overripe papayas will be all yellow, soft or mushy, and smell sweet—avoid those. I always buy one more papaya than I am going to need, in case something goes wrong or in case one of them is too ripe!