We are having a minor heatwave here in my part of the southeast. So, I can only contemplate cold food, no baking or simmering or heating for any length of time. Even toasting seems out of line at the moment. Given this, it seems an ideal time to introduce an old friend. He is getting close to being 100, but he can still steal the limelight at any dinner party! Like many superstars of his era, he has come in and gone out of fashion. But, in my humble opinion, he still has something to say. His origins are a little sketchy, but he is definately from the west. He was seen popping up in the early 1900s in places like Seattle and San Francisco. But regardless of his roots, on a night like this, it is my humble pleasure to introduce you to the illustrious Crab Louis (aka King Crab Louie, Crab Louie, King of Salads).
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped as you would for a caesar salad
- 2 cucumbers, peeled, sliced into long quarters, seeded, then each quarter sliced in half (8 strips per cuke)
- 4 medium tomatoes, quartered
- 1 Hass avocado, peeled, seeded, sliced into long strips
- 1 bunch asparagus, cleaned, steamed until just crisp-tender, cooled in an ice bath to stop cooking
- 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped into quarters
- 16 olives (black, kalamata, green, green-stuffed, or some combination – I prefer just black on mine)
- 2 lbs lump crab meat, cleaned and well drained
Select 4 pretty, large plates. Arrange 1 cup salad, and a quarter of all the vegetables artfully on each plate. I like to spread my lettuce out on the plate and then use the veggies to make spokes of a wheel (because they are all long, except for the eggs, tomatoes, and olives which I put between the spokes). Then sprinkle a 1/2 cup of the crab on each plate. Or you could artfully take an icecream scoop and place it in the middle of the spokes. Dress with 2 tablespoons of Thousand Island Dressing (see recipe below). Without dressing, each salad is worth 6 points – you can shave some off with less avocado and olives…but that would be tragic. If you want to pump up the volume, simply bump up the 0 point veggies. While it is not traditional, I have been known to add sugar snap peas or snow peas to this. I have also been known to add some sliced jicama sticks.
Dressing: (Yes, you can buy serviceable bottled thousand island dressing and calculate the points, but this is SO MUCH BETTER!!!! I TOTALLY SWEAR!!!!)
- 2 eggs, soft boiled, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup worchestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 pinch cloves
- 2 cups light mayonaise (fat free tastes really bad here – don’t do it – no, seriously – don’t do it)
- 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish (preferably one sweetened with splenda)
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
Mix together in a bowl with a fork until consistency is relatively smooth. Keep in refrigerator for up to a week. Tastes better the day or so after it has been made. (2 tablespoons – 3 points)
This meal is best eaten on the back porch with friends and a nice light white or rose wine (4 oz=2 pts) such as a crisp sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, or a dry rose such as Venus de Pinchinat Rosé 2008. Heck, if you are splurging a lovely sourdough would fit right in here too…mmmmm…..sourdough…..