It’s Louie Louie Time

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Tired of Christmas music?

If you’re of my generation, you may have fond memories of the Kingsmen and their recording of Louie Louie .  I remember how we desperately tried to figure out what the rumored “dirty words” were in those mostly unintelligible lyrics.  Apparently the FBI tried to figure it out too. (I’ve been thinking about the FBI lately.)  Some say it took them two years to work on it – yet they never interviewed Jack Ely who sang it on that infamous recording. has a fascinating article about the song.

Of course, as I danced around in my best 60’s dance mode to Louie Louie, I immediately thought of Crab Louie and a blog.  Andy began reminiscing about a crab boil in Louisiana.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where freshly cooked crabs are available, a Crab Louie – or Louis – dinner is the perfect holiday meal – simple to prepare, beautiful, healthy.  If you can get fresh shrimp, that works too.

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According to Leigh, Louie dressing is all about using homemade horseradish and appraising the color.  This is too pale.  I needed to up the ketchup amount.

Our neighbors and friends, Leigh and Maxine, are my authorities on Crab Louie.  Maxine grew up in San Francisco and shared this bit of her family history with us:

When asked to write something about growing up in San Francisco and eating Dungeness Crab, I had a wonderful flashback from being a 10 year old girl. My parents waited all year for crab season to open in November, and I have a fond memory of going to Fisherman’s Wharf with my Dad when the time came. We would drive to the dock where the fishermen were unloading the crabs. A vendor would pop them in a vat of boiling water for a minute or two, take them out and hand them to his partner who would clean and crack them. Then he would wrap the crab in some newspaper and send us on our way.

On the way home, we always stopped at the Larraburu Bakery and bought a large loaf of fresh, warm sourdough French bread. When we arrived home my mom would have prepared a simple salad with lettuce, celery and lots of avocado. She made a Thousand Island dressing and served it on the side along with some lemon wedges. My parents would shell a big pile of crab on their plate, add the salad and dressing and feast with the sourdough bread, all the while talking and catching up on each others news. Meanwhile, I loved my grilled cheese sandwich.

So get crackin’!  And try Maxine’s approach (to the crab, that is; not the cheese sandwich): have everyone sit and shell the crab while visiting (and enjoying a glass of chilled dry white wine – perhaps Sonoma’s Dry Creek Fumé Blanc).  When all the crab has been shelled and every guest has a plate with a pile of crab, you’re ready to pass the green salad and the dressing and dig in.  Slow-food at its best.  And, this dear readers, is a Best of the Besties!

Crab Louie

  • Servings: 1 big crab should feed 2 people; 1 pound of shrimp - for Shrimp Louie - will serve 4
  • Print


Homemade Horseradish

  • 8-10″ piece of horseradish root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 T water
  • 1 T white vinegar
  • pinch salt

Put all the ingredients in a food processor (being careful not to rub your eyes after handling the fresh horseradish) and process until well ground.  Transfer the horseradish to a jar and refrigerate.  It will keep 3-4 weeks.

Crab Louie Dressing (enough for 4 hearty eaters)

  • 3/4 c mayonnaise
  • 3/4 c ketchup
  • 3 tsp horseradish (or to taste)

Crab Louie Salad

  • Romaine or Baby Gem lettuce, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces
  • Avocados, cut into bite-size pieces or sliced, and placed on top of the lettuce

Accompaniments: lemon slices and slices of top-notch artisan bread – traditionally sourdough


  • One beautiful bowl of cracked crab pieces, surrounded by lemon slices
  • One bowl of salad/avocado mix
  • Crab Louie Dressing
  • Bread

Recipe brought to you by Maxine and Lee and




  1. Deb Pool says:

    This all sounds fabulous! Maxine’s remembrance, the gathering with special people to actively create your meal, and then the delicious bread and salad…wish I ate crab!!!
    Merry Christmas you two ❤️


  2. g2-687029bbb8ccbba9867442195ca0e054 says:

    I haven’t seen any recipes for raccoon, possum or gator yet. I know they are staples of the Louisiana diet. In fact, the faculty lounge at LSU is famous for its possum a l’orange. Can we expect any soon?


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