louie louie

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Salads and Dressings, Fish and Seafood, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Lunch, Posted on April 25, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)

We had our second dinner party, and it was an absolute blast. Not really sure if it was truly that fun, or if it just seemed that way because we hadn’t had a new person over in well, over a year. It’s like that new mom who goes out for the first time, crams herself into an outfit she has no business wearing, and thinks she’s the life of the party (true confession- I’ve been her twice). Who knows, and who cares. It was so much fun talking to new people about new things. Laughing, imbibing, and sharing news, opinions, stories and perspectives. We were thirsty sponges soaking it all in. At the end of the evening, we exchanged heartfelt hugs among our vaccinated selves. As I said, it was a blast.

Knowing I wanted to spend every minute with our new friends I wanted a supper that could be prepped completely beforehand with just a simple assembly to serve. And because the weather was still pretty warm (sorry to my friends in the Northeast who just got out their snow shovels) I wanted something that could handle the heat.

For some reason I’ve been hankering an old school louie salad. Maybe it was that song that I heard on the radio by The Kingsmen, or perhaps the distant memory of delicate seafood perched upon crunchy greens with a hefty drizzle of a pretty superb thousand island-esque dressing. Whatever it was, I made it my mission to research this iconic salad and figure out a way to get it on my table.

Crab Louie or as it is also known, the King of Salads, dates back to the early 1900’s. While its exact origins on the west coast are debatable, what’s not is how absolutely delicious it is. Turns out it’s pretty simple, if you prep everything ahead of time. For my dinner I decided to swap out the typical crab meat for some plump poached shrimp.

A key component to the poached shrimp louie salad is the dressing

Mayonnaise, chili sauce, and crème fraiche make up the base. Just whisk together with a little chopped scallion, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. It can be made a couple days in advance, cover and refrigerate.

Earlier on the day you want to serve the salad bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a half pound of trimmed thin asparagus and cook until bright green and just tender, about two minutes. Remove with tongs and place in an ice bath. Drain the asparagus well, wrap in paper towel and refrigerate.

Bring the water back to a boil and add one and half pounds shell-on shrimp. Cook until bright pink and just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Transfer to a plate to cool. Once the shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel. Cover and refrigerate.

Return the water to a boil and gently lower in four eggs. Boil for 6 to 7 minutes (6 for runnier yolks, 7 for slightly firmer). Place in an ice bath. Peel, cover and refrigerate. Wash and dry a large head of romaine, wrap in paper towel and refrigerate.

An hour or so before serving, or before your guests arrive, thinly slice a Persian cucumber (or one-quarter English cucumber). Wrap in paper towel and refrigerate.

Halve eight to twelve cherry tomatoes. Cover and refrigerate.

Thinly slice the whites and light green parts of two scallions.

Chop the lettuce, refrigerate if not using right away.

Right before serving slice the avocado. Halve the eggs, be careful they’re going to be runny.

To assemble, arrange the lettuce on four dinner plates. Scatter with sliced cucumber, avocado, asparagus, halved cherry tomatoes and peeled shrimp. Season with a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with a little Louis dressing (serve the rest on the side). Nestle the eggs in the salad. Scatter sliced green onion on top.

Pretty sure this salad will have you singing “Louie Louie, oh no… Me gotta go… Aye-yi-yi-yi!

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