Classic Crab Louis

Classic Crab Louis

Servings: 2


  • 1 large / Dungeness crabs or 2 small/medium
  • 1 head / iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 lemon cut in thick wedges
  • sourdough bread hot
  • butter at room temperature
  • Louis Dressing

  • 1/4 cup / heavy cream well chilled
  • 1/4 cup / commercial cocktail or chili sauce such as Heinz or Hunt’s
  • 3/4 cup / mayonnaise either homemade or Best Foods/Hellman’s brand
  • 4 scallions white and green parts only, trimmed and cut into thin rounds
  • 1 tablespoon / minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon / lemon juice plus more to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon / kosher salt plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon / Sriracha hot sauce or ¼ teaspoon ground chile, such as chipotle powder or piment d’Espelette


  1. For the Louis Dressing, chill a medium ,stainless steel bowl for about 30 minutes.
  2. Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and use a whisk to whip it until it forms soft peaks. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the cocktail or chili sauce and the mayonnaise, followed by the scallions, parsley, lemon juice, salt and Sriracha or ground chile. Do not overmix or you will decrease the volume provided by the whipped cream.
  3. Season generously with black pepper, taste, and correct for salt and acid.
  4. Use right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to use. It will last 2 or 3 days.
  5. If you have not already picked the meat from the crab, do so now and try to keep the claw meat intact. Put in a bowl, cover and refrigerate. (You can complete both of these steps several hours in advance.)
  6. To finish the salads, remove the dressing and the crab from the refrigerator. Mix the dressing with a whisk a few times, in case any liquid has settled.
  7. Put two dinner plates next to your work area. Set the lettuce on your work surface and remove the thinnest outer leaves (just one layer) and discard. Using your thumbs and forefingers, break apart the lettuce and remove 3 or 4 outer layers. Reserve the inner portion for another use.
  8. Break the lettuce into smaller pieces (not too small — about 2½ inches) and divide between the plates. Divide the crab, setting it next to the lettuce. Spoon dressing onto the crab, garnish with lemon wedges and enjoy right away, with the remaining dressing alongside, along with the bread and butter.