This sublime, rich assembled salad originated in the early 1900s on the West
Coast of the United States. The originator of the salad is lost to history. San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel is mentioned by some
sources, as is Solari's Restaurant in San Francisco. Another source says that
Seattle's Olympia Club first offered this dish. A chef
from the St. Francis included a recipe for it in a 1919 publication entitled
"The St. Francis Hotel Cook Book."
The dish was designed to showcase the Northwest's famous Dungeness Crab. It
soon became a ubiquitous appetizer/salad item on menus all over the country. The
alternative spelling of the dish, "Crab Louie" is also how the name of the dish
The popularity of the dish lasted until the 1960s, when it slipped out of
fashion on restaurant menus. One of famed chef James Beard's
favorites, the salad is re-created by crab lovers to this day. Beside crab,
jumbo shrimp or lobster may be used.
For the dressing:
1 cup Mayonnaise
3 Tbs. Heinz Chili Sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. fresh Lemon Juice
scant tsp. of sugar
1 tsp. Colman's Dry Mustard
1 tsp. finely minced Shallots
2 Tbs. finely chopped Pimiento-stuffed Green Olives
1 Tbs. finely chopped Cocktail Onions
Combine all the above ingredients and allow to sit for at least an hour, or
better, overnight, before using.
For the salad:
1 lb. lump crab meat (and whole claws, if you're using fresh crab), picked
over for bits of shell
1 lb. cooked, chilled jumbo shrimp
1 lb. cooked, chilled lobster meat, in coarse chunks
Bibb lettuce leaves, washed and spun dry (enough to line each diner's plate)
or shredded iceberg lettuce
4-6 boiled eggs, quartered into wedges
Red, ripe tomato wedges (four to a plate)
Lemon wedges to garnish
Capers to garnish
Assemble the salads:
It's up to you how many people you want to feed with a pound of cooked
seafood. This recipe makes four large or six small appetizers, or three luncheon
Moisten the seafood by tossing it with a few tablespoons of the dressing in a
bowl. Set aside.
Line each plate with lettuce. Arrange four boiled egg wedges and four tomato
wedges around the edges of the plates. Portion the moistened seafood mixture out
into the center of each plate. Garnish with the lemon wedges and the capers.
Serve the dressing on the side.
The salad becomes more luxurious if you seed and dice the tomatoes in 1/8"
dice, and push the boiled eggs through a sieve or otherwise chop them finely.
Surround the crab mixture with these items and top with the capers.
A poor-man's Crab Louis can be made with imitation crabmeat and Thousand
Island Dressing. Garnish with the boiled egg and tomato.