The first time we had a seafood tower was at a restaurant, Paradise Key, in a small town on the Texas coast. It was stacked with layers of mango, pico de gallo, avocado, and crab meat. It was fresh, delicious, and definitely memorable. Our recipe for crab and ahi tuna tower is inspired by theirs and tastes clean and fresh, using the best crab and sushi-grade ahi tuna we could get.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
This recipe is a raw dish so use only the highest quality ingredients.
The complete ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.
- Ahi Tuna: The tuna in this tower is raw so only use sushi-grade ahi tuna (or saku maguro). We buy our tuna at a local high-end grocery store but you can also find it at stores such as Whole Foods or a local fishmonger. Be sure to purchase only from a reputable vendor or stores that carry sushi-grade tuna. We purchased our tuna frozen and the safest way to thaw it is in the refrigerator the night before you are planning to eat it. It should be kept chilled until it is ready to be prepared and served. Once the tuna has thawed use a clean, dry surface, like a cutting board, to pat dry the tuna with clean paper towels.
- Crab: We prefer crab claw meat since it has the strongest flavor but you can substitute with jumbo lump which is sweeter or lump crab meat. Definitely do not use imitation crab meat as it generally contains no crab. In our opinion, it would be better to leave the crab out than use any imitation.
- Mango, Avocado, Peppers, and Cucumber: Besides adding lots of flavors these ingredients add sweetness, creaminess, and crunch. Our grilled avocado guacamole can be substituted for the avocado and added as an extra layer in the tower.
How to Make Crab and Ahi Tuna Towers
Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.
Pro-tip: We purchased a food ring mold from a local restaurant supply store for about $10 but you can also use an aluminum can just cut off both ends or even a 3-inch section of a PVC pipe.
1. Prepare the ingredients: Cut the mango and avocado into 1/4-inch cubes and dice the peppers and cucumbers. In a small bowl place the mangos, avocados, peppers, cucumbers, lime juice, salt, and cilantro and gently mix to combine. Dice the tuna into 1/2-inch pieces.
2. Assemble the Layers: Place the food ring mold in the center of a plate and fill with 3-4 tablespoons of the mango avocado mixture into the ring mold and gently press down. The layer should be approximately 1-inch thick. Then place half the crab into the ring mold on top of the mango avocado layer and gently press down. Finally, place half the ahi tuna into the ring mold on top of the crab layer and gently press down. Carefully remove the ring mold. Repeat for the second crab and tuna tower.
3. Serve: Top the tower with a sprinkle of black and white sesame seeds and microgreens. Crab and Ahi Tuna Towers should be served immediately with fried wontons or tortilla chips.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- You should only use sushi-grade tuna since it is being eaten raw.
- Keep tuna refrigerated until ready to be prepared.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since the tuna is raw we recommended not saving leftovers so only buy, thaw, and prepare what will be eaten.
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Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this recipe, we recommend checking out some of these:
- Sesame Seed Crusted Tuna with Mango Salsa
- Hawaiian Style Ahi Tuna Poke
- Crawfish Corn Beignets with Mustard Remoulade
Crab and Ahi Tuna Tower
- Food Ring Mold, see notes
- Medium-Sized Bowl
- 8 ounces saku maguro/sushi-grade ahi tuna
- 8 ounces crab claw meat
- 1 medium avocado, cut into ¼ inch cubes
- 2-3 mini peppers, diced
- 1 mango, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup cucumber, diced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- black and white sesame seeds, for garnish
- microgreens, for garnish
- In a medium bowl combine the cut mango, cut avocado, diced peppers, cilantro, diced cucumber, salt, and lime juice then set aside.
- Dice tuna into ½-inches pieces.
- In a food ring mold placed in the center of a plate, begin building the tower layers by placing approximately 3-4 tablespoons of the mango avocado mixture into the ring mold and gently press down. The layer should be approximately 1-inch thick.
- Place half the crab into the ring mold on top of the mango avocado layer and gently press down.
- Place half the ahi tuna into the ring mold on top of the crab layer and gently press down.
- Carefully remove the ring mold and top the tower with the black and white sesame seeds and microgreens.
- Repeat for the second crab and tuna tower. Serve with fried wontons or tortilla chips.