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The Art of the Salad: San Francisco's Famed Crab Louie

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What a Crab Louie is, is a simple salad featuring Dungeness crab. Yes, it is that simple but many people, including many restaurants, have no idea how to authentically prepare this salad. An actual Crab Louie is simply greens (hearts of Romaine lettuce or, as I use, baby spinach), finely chopped green onions and hardboiled eggs. This is topped with fresh crab (both the clump meat and the claws) and served with a side of dressing. By-the-way, dressing should never be served over any salad. It is up to the guest to add their own and in the quantity they prefer.

When it comes to a Crab Louie, it is the dressing which separates the restaurants (assuming the restaurant is using fresh crab which, unfortunately, many do not). When I had my restaurant in San Francisco we were often noted in the press for our Crab Louie and our secret was our freshly made dressing. We made the dressing fresh for each salad and each of the ingredients is meant to bring out the fresh taste of the Dungeness crab.

So, now that you know how to make the salad part of a Crab Louie, let me share with you the dressing which will make yours as good as any you will ever find at a first-class restaurant!

Of course if you want to be even more authentic with this salad, you will serve it with some Sour Dough French Bread and a wonderful Napa Valley Chardonnay.

Ingredients needed to make Crab Louie Dressing (enough for two salads and adapted for a home kitchen):

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. cream-style horseradish
  • 1 Tbs. sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tbs. capers, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Steps:

  1. In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients and whisk until smooth and creamy.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or until ready to use.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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