All rise please, the King of Salads is here: Fake Crab Louis!
A typical Crab Louis uses real lump crab meat. Well, you'll have to settle for fake crab in my recipe. Notice in the animated GIF above, my Royal Cheap$kate's Crown is made of cardboard -- so you won't have to hock the Queen's jewels to pay for the simple salad recipe ingredients.
This salad is old school steak house cuisine that originated on the West Coast around the 1900's. There is debate where it first came together, either San Francisco or Portland, Oregon. You can read all about it by clicking here.
Almost anyone can afford a head of iceberg lettuce, a couple of tomatoes, a hard boiled egg or two, and a few stalks of asparagus. Asparagus can be expensive out of season, but I find it quite often at my local 99c only Store. Of course you can substitute with any cheap veggies you find on sale, like broccoli.
I don't eat sliced boiled eggs on my salads, but since making this recipe I'm going to keep a a few in the refrigerator from now on.
You can get fake crab (or, krab) for around 3 bucks per pound in a typical grocery seafood chilled case. And for this recipe I only use half a pound to make enough for 3 salad servings. As usual, I get frozen 8 ounce packages of imitation crab meat at my local 99c only Store.
Click on any photo to see larger.
One thing about frozen imitation crab is it can dry out a bit. If that is the case I have an easy fix. After it's defrosted just sprinkle a little water on the krab and microwave in 10 second increments until the krab is warm, but not hot. It will soften and tenderize nicely. The texture will go from stringy and mealy to sweet and supple.
Go ahead and bring Fake Crab Louis into the 21st Century with cage-free eggs, heirloom tomatoes, specialty lettuces, even kale - wait a second, let's go back a few centuries, before big industrial food production began!
I also have an easy Homemade Louis Salad Dressing comprised of sour cream, ketchup and hot sauce. You can use store bought Thousand Island dressing if you like.
This Socialist Chef is against all aristocracy, whether it's tax dodging corporate oligarchs, the hoarding moneyed elites or European royalty - it's all balderdash. However, I will not abdicate my standing as the Earl of Tightwad, dispensing bargain recipes any plebeian can afford. And, until we all come to our senses and become a real sharing economy, I guess there will always be a seat at the culinary table for The 99 Cent Chef.
So read on and allow me to introduce to you my recipe for Fake Crab Louis with Homemade Louis Salad Dressing.
Ingredients (2-3 salad servings, depending on size of a head of lettuce)
- Fake crab (krab) - 8 ounces or half a pound. Okay to use more or less to suit your budget. You can even use real cooked lump crab meat, if your ship comes in, you get a raise, or marry into royalty.
- 2 to 3 eggs - boiled and peeled.
- Lettuce - one head. Okay to use any favorite salad greens like: kale, Romain and spinach.
- Asparagus - about half a pound. Okay to use as much as you like. You can even leave it out if it breaks the budget. Substitute with cheaper veggies like broccoli and carrots.
- Tomatoes - 2 to 3, depending on the size. Okay to use cherry tomatoes.
Louis Dressing (or use store bought Thousand Island dressing)
- 3 tablespoons of sour cream or mayo - I used sour cream for this recipe. Okay to use low fat.
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce - I used Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce. Okay to use any favorite hot sauce. Mix in a little at a time to reach desired spiciness. Okay to use horseradish instead of hot sauce. Hot sauce is optional, if your tolerance for spiciness is low.
- 1/4 onion minced or grated - optional. I used yellow onion. Some recipes call for sweet pickle relish, so it's okay to add a tablespoon or two.
Directions for Homemade Louis Dressing (okay to use store-bought Thousand Island Dressing)
Add 3 tablespoons of mayo or sour cream to a bowl. Squeeze in a tablespoon of ketchup.
For heat, mix in half a teaspoon of favorite hot sauce. Add a little at a time to reach desired hotness. It's okay to leave it out as well.
Fine chop, mince, or grate 1/4 onion. This is an optional addition; dressing will be delish even without onion. Some recipes call for sweet pickle relish - add a tablespoon and see if you like it that way.
Mix Louis Dressing ingredients well. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Directions for Fake Crab Louis Salad
Low boil 2 to 3 eggs about 10 minutes until cooked through. Of course you can boil the eggs any way you like, semi-soft to a hard boiled yolk. Cool down eggs with ice water when done, or they will continue cooking. For semi-soft eggs yolks it's okay to add them to salad while warm.
Slice off about an inch of each asparagus stalk. In a large pot, or pan, add enough water to almost cover asparagus. Simmer asparagus about 3-5 minutes until stalks are soft and tender. Cooking time will vary depending on thickness of stalks. Just try one out when you think they are tender.
You may need to remove even more stalk after cooking. It's hard to tell how much of the stalk is tough and stringy until asparagus is cooked. It's okay to slice off even more of the stalk after cooking. You don't want to overcook the tender heads or they will be mushy.
Add done asparagus to an ice bath or cold water to stop cooking.
Rinse then roughly shred, or chop, your favorite lettuce. Slice tomatoes.
Prepare the fake crab (or krab.) Just roughly shred it. If krab is frozen it my be tough when defrosted. If so, drizzle it with a teaspoon of water, then zap in microwave in 10 second increments until krab is warm and tender. You don't want to cook the krab until hot, just warm it up to absorb some moisture.
Now time to bring it all together.
Layer or mix the lettuce, tomato, asparagus, sliced egg, and krab, and finally top with Homemade Louis Dressing (or Thousand Island Dressing.)
Okay to make the salad your own. Use any specialty lettuce and heirloom tomatoes. And if you are flush with cash, or want to impress a date, then use real lump crab meat. I used an 8 ounce package of imitation crab.
You can also use any fresh or steamed veggies you like, including: carrots, broccoli, spinach or cauliflower.
Asparagus can be expensive, so it's okay to substitute with another veggie, or just leave it out.
You can add a little sweet pickle relish to Homemade Louis Dressing. Okay to use horseradish instead of hot sauce. And you can leave out hot sauce or horseradish if your tolerance for spiciness is low.
Okay to assemble salad a few hours ahead of meal time.