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Louie Lou-ahh

Chef Adolfo Chavez 24th Street Cafe

When we challenged Mark Huggs, owner of 24th Street Cafe, to whip up a special dish just for our readers, we had no idea he had such a sense of humor.

The requirements for our chefs and restaurant owners is that the dish has to include local ingredients and it needs to be something not currently on their menu, but when Huggs told us he’d be preparing his version of Crab Louie for this feature, and that the crab came from the Kern River, more than one of us in the editorial department scratched our heads. Surely he hadn’t discovered some mystical bank of the Kern River chock full of delicious crab. Turns out, he was just trying to adhere to the guidelines.

“You told me it had to be local,” he quipped with a smile.

Crustaceans aside, Huggs has wrangled up produce from locally-owned Tesch Farms for this recipe, so he’s won us over, not only with his joke, but with this recipe.

On a warm summer night, nothing hits the spot quite like a fresh salad, especially one with “Kern River” crab.

Crab Louie

    ~Dressing~
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ~Salad~
  • 1 lb. crab meat, preferably Dungeness
  • 3/4 lb. asparagus
  • Two 6-oz. romaine hearts, cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • One 6-oz. seedless cucumber, thinly sliced or cut into spears
  • 4 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, cut into wedges

First, prepare the dressing. In a bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the ketchup, relish, lemon juice, garlic, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and chili powder. Then, season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. While the dressing is standing, assemble the salad.

Fill a medium saucepan with salted water. Bring to a boil and then cook the asparagus until tender. It usually takes about three minutes. Then drain and cool.

Arrange the lettuce, cucumber, radishes, tomatoes, eggs and asparagus on a platter in a decorative fashion. Top with large chunks of the crab meat and serve with dressing on the side.

Article appeared in our 28-2 Issue - June 2011