After I made the yummy crab carbonara, I still had half a can of beautiful lump crabmeat left over. What to do? Then I suddenly remembered a wonderful summer salad I had not seen on a menu in a long time – Crabmeat Louie. I remembered eating this delicious dish in my youth, but it seems to have fallen out of favor over the years, which is a shame. No one knows when or where it was first served. It seems to have originated in San Francisco or Seattle to showcase local Dungeness crab, sometime in the early 20th century.
It remained popular and and was served often at fine restaurants in the 80’s and 90’s and then nearly disappeared. New food fads claimed menu space and I supposed this mainstay of the ladies who lunch was not hip enough to hang on. After all, it incorporates neither quinoa or kale. But it’s simple to prepare and does not involve any cooking if you play your cards right, which makes it a perfect summer repast. This particular recipe is from Food and Wine magazine. I look forward to having it again soon and I hope you will try it. While it was originally developed for crabmeat, it’s almost equally delicious made with cold, cooked cocktail shrimp. If you happened to have a couple of cold poached lobster tails handy, I’m sure they would be delicious in this recipe as well. And if you do, please be sure to invite me over.
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. Smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder (I used hot Mexican chili powder because it was what I had on hand)
A shake or two of hot sauce (the recipe calls for Tabasco, but I used Frank’s)
Salt and black pepper to taste ( need I even say it should be freshly ground?)
¾ pound asparagus ( blanched by dropping into boiling water for three minutes and then cooling in an ice bath)
Romaine lettuce leaves
One cucumber peeled and sliced or cut into spears
Tomatoes cut into wedges or halved cherry tomatoes
4 hard cooked eggs
1 pound crabmeat or a mixture of crabmeat and cold boiled shrimp
In a bowl, whisk mayonnaise with the ketchup, pickle relish, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, hot sauce, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Arrange a few romaine leaves on each plate. Pile the seafood on the romaine leaves in the center of the plate and artfully arrange the other components around it. Top with dressing or pass it at the table.
All crabbiness will instantly dissipate, at least for the length of time it takes to eat this marvelous salad.
This recipe serves 4, but can be easily adapted to a smaller or larger number of servings. Invite some girl friends over for lunch. Wear hats and pearls, please.
Pour a glass of cold white wine and enjoy.
“Cooking is one of the strongest ceremonies for life. When recipes are put together, the kitchen is a chemical laboratory involving air, fire, water and the earth. This is what gives value to humans and elevates their spiritual qualities. If you take a frozen box and stick it in the microwave, you become connected to the factory.”
“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain