Mr. Bayley's West Indies Salad

Total Time
12hrs 20mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 12 hrs

This salad is the quintessential regional dish of the Lower Alabama Gulf Coast area. It was invented by the late Bill Bayley, who owned a steak and seafood restaurant of good repute. It must be prepared exactly as directed, with careful layering. Use the coldest ice water you can find in the recipe. The longer this one marinates, the better. The recipe sounds simple, but the results are indescribably delicious. This well-guarded recipe was finally published in 1964 in the Junior League of Mobile cookbook, Recipe Jubilee. Cooking time refers to time needed to marinate (2-12 hours).

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 lb fresh lump crabmeat
  • 4 ounces Wesson Oil
  • 3 ounces cider vinegar
  • 4 ounces ice water (as cold as you can get it)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Follow these instructions to the letter!
  2. Spread half of onion over bottom of large bowl.
  3. Cover with separated crab lumps.
  4. Add the remaining onion.
  5. Salt and pepper.
  6. Pour oil, vinegar and ice water over all.
  7. Cover and marinate 2-12 hours.
  8. Toss lightly before serving.
  9. Serve as a"salad" on a bed of lettuce or on crackers as an appetizer.
  10. Variation: Substitute royal red shrimp for the crabmeat.
Most Helpful

add one pouch of rubust itialin dressing to this and enjoy. i live in mobile al and bailey's had the original recipe but trust me on this!

kahalley April 15, 2013

Baileys recipe is incorrect as to layers...New Bill Bayley, but his recipe was for single serving...for family, build a minimum of 4 layer of dark/claw, another layer of white/body crab meat...always wait 24 hours before serving.

weinacker September 10, 2015

I was born and raised in Mobile, AL. My family made a special outing to Bill Bailey's restaurant which I always looked forward to! Bailey's West Indies Salad was always something that we ordered! That, along with their fried crab claws were our dinner... Although I was young, I still remember Mr. Bailey and walking through the kitchen area to the dining area in the rear of the restaurant!

Mark S. August 09, 2015