The blue crab harvest is fully underway here in South Louisiana, and many friends I talked to over the weekend were planning Labor Day crab boils. Yum! As much as I love crawfish, shrimp and oysters, crab — I have to admit — is my all time favorite local seafood. It would be on my desert island list, and my death row last supper.
After our daughter’s cross country meet Saturday morning, we picked up a couple dozen boiled crabs over from Tony’s Seafood for our family of five, and they couldn’t have been tastier. Traditionalists say if you harvest crabs after a full moon, they’re at their fullest, so I guess we were still benefiting from the full moon a week earlier.
At any rate, we found ourselves unable to finish the haul, so I did the dirty work and picked the remaining crabs. I made Crab Louie the next day, one of the easiest and tastiest uses for crabmeat around.
Crab Louie hails from San Francisco, another crab-obsessed locale, where it has reportedly been enjoyed since 1915. Louie sauce is not unlike south Louisiana’s signature remoulade sauce in that it’s creamy, tangy and served over cold seafood. But unlike remoulade, Louie contains no mustard.
This is a recipe I’ve been making regularly since it appeared in a special San Francisco issue of now-defunct Gourmet magazine. (I still miss Gourmet!) It’s fast and easy, and a great way to highlight local crabmeat.
To make dressing, whisk the following:
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup-based chili sauce
¼ cup minced scallion (both white and green parts)
2 tablespoons minced green olives
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon bottled horseradish
Sal t and pepper to taste
Divide evenly among four plates:
Shredded iceberg lettuce
24 oz. jumbo lump crabmeat, free of shell fragments
Arrange crabmeat over lettuce. Pour dressing over crabmeat and garnish with capers, tomatoes, wedges of hard-boiled egg and lemon.