Oakland’s burger master Chris Kronner shares his burger philosophy in his debut cookbook, A Burger To Believe In. Complete with classic recipes, dishes from collaborators like Bar Tartine, a chicken wing salad and a short story from Harold McGee, this book is one for the truest and quirkiest of burger lovers. Want to start the grill out with something from the sea? This Crab Louie salad is sure to do the trick.
When I make this updated version of a crab Louie salad, I always put as much seafood on it as I can—crab, shrimp, prawns, lobster. But then again, I will also buy three pounds of king crab legs and eat them all by myself because I’m a disgusting person and I cannot control my love for consuming shellfish and crustaceans. Here’s how I rationalize it: While so much of our seafood is in peril, most shellfish and crustaceans are very sustainable. The way I see it, crustaceans will probably inherit the seas. One day in a not-too-distant dystopian future, humankind will be down at the beaches shooting giant crabs to prevent them from coming onto the shore to take our bitcoin, because they—and their jellyfish overlords—will be the only things left in the ocean. They might be the kings of the sea but they won’t be the kings of the beach, as long as us humans and our Amazon delivery drone allies have anything to do with it. So basically, that’s why I eat as much crab as I can these days—to prevent a crab ground war.
This salad serves as a hearty shared starter or stand-alone entrée. If you want to skip the salad, just use the dressing—or its leftovers—in a seafood cocktail, with shrimp, crab, lobster tails, whatever.
- 12 Jimmy Nardello peppers, or 2 red bell peppers (about 8 ounces total)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as safflower oil)
- kosher salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons ketchup (preferably Sir Kensington's)
- 1 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco or other fermented hot sauce
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup diced dill pickles
- kosher salt
- 1 pound shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined
- 2 small heads iceberg lettuce, or 4 heads Little Gem lettuce, cored and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 pound Dungeness crab (about 1 crab), cooked and picked over for shells
- 4 semi-soft boiled eggs, peeled and halved
- Fresh dill leaves, for garnish
For the dressing
Toss the peppers with the 2 tablespoons of the oil in a bowl and season with salt. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast until cooked through and barely blistered, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool. Chop 1⁄3 cup of roasted peppers. Reserve the rest of the peppers for the salad.
Combine the egg yolks, garlic, vinegar, mustard powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor and process until smooth. With the processor running, slowly add the remaining 1 cup of oil and process until emulsified, about 1 minute.
Add the crème fraîche, ketchup, Worcestershire, and Tabasco to the processor and process until well incorporated. Add the shallot and the 1⁄3 cup of chopped roasted peppers and process once more. Transfer the dressing to a bowl and stir in the dill pickles. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For the salad
Bring a pot of water to a simmer over high heat and add enough salt so that the water tastes like the sea. Prepare an ice bath, also salty like the sea.
Drop the shrimp into the simmering water and cook until just pink, 30 to 40 seconds. Using a spider skimmer or similar tool, quickly transfer to the ice bath and let cool completely.
Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter or wide shallow bowl. Drizzle 1 cup of the dressing over the lettuce. In a small bowl, season the shrimp with a pinch of salt and a squirt of lemon juice and toss to coat. Place on top of the lettuce. Do the same with the crab. Top the lettuce with the halved eggs, the remaining whole roasted peppers, and dill. Serve with extra dressing on the side. Eat immediately.