Refreshing and light, Crab Louie Lettuce Wraps are simple and easy to make, yet delicious and elegant, perfect for summer gatherings. Can be made-ahead. Gluten-free, low-carb, paleo and dairy-free!
Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly.~Neruda~
Happy Summer Friends! Boy am I loving these loving these long summer days… so nice to be able to sit outside with all the lush summer smells and golden light that seems to linger on and on for hours.
Here’s a light and summery appetizer we served a lot last summer while we sere still catering- Mini Crab Louie’s in butter lettuce cups! These were such a hit, we could literally hear the oohs and aahs back in the catering tent as servers would pass these little guys around. Delicious and refreshing, these Mini Crab Louie’s are not only super tasty, they are a creative way to serve up a relatively a high-end ingredient like Dungenous Crab, in an affordable, yet very elegant way. A way to delight your guests….
This week I’ve partnered with one of my favorite wineries down in Napa Valley, called Cakebread Cellars to create a tasty pairing with their luscious Chardonnay Reserve. The floral, peachy notes along with just the right amount of creaminess and acidity really pair well with the crab. I can’t think of a better time to invite some friends over, sit outside and enjoy this glorious June weather with some light appetizers and a delicious glass of wine. Don’t you think?
Butter lettuce leaves are filled with avocado, radishes, cucumber ribbons, dungeness crab, snap peas and topped with tarragon or fresh dill.
Of course you can other touches- cherry tomatoes, asparagus tips, hard boiled quail eggs (sliced in half)…you get the idea.
The Mini Crab Louie’s can be made-ahead and refrigerated for several hours before your guests arrive…and they best part? No cooking required! It’s all about assembly, an only takes 15 minutes! How simple is this?
They are served with a simple Crab Louie Dressing that can be “lightened-up” using a vegan mayo. For an even lighter version, you could simple sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice- although I must say, the dressing is totally yummmmmmmmmy.
We’ve also served this with a very simple tarragon vinaigrette with good results.
If finding dungeness crab proves to be a challenge, you can always substitute cooked shrimp.
Heck, this would even be good with smoked salmon if shellfish is not your thing.
This Mini Crab Louie Appetizer is so simple and easy, can be made-ahead, and will totally delight your guests. I can hear the oohs and aahs already. 😉
Cheers friends, Happy Summer!!!!!!!
Mini Crab Louie Appetizer
Mini Crab Louie Appetizer – a refreshing and light appetizer that is very simple to make, yet delicious and elegant! Can be made-ahead. Gluten-free, low-carb and dairy-free.
- Prep Time: 20
- Total Time: 20
- Yield: 8
- Category: appetizer, seafood, low-carb, paleo
- Method: assembly
- Cuisine: american
- Butter lettuce- one head ( or 8 perfect leaves)
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 turkish cucumber, sliced or cut into thin ribbons ( use a veggie peeler)
- 3 radishes ( watermelon radishes are pretty)
- 8 ounces Dungeness crab ( or sub cooked shrimp, or smoked salmon or lox)
- few sprigs fresh tarragon or dill
- optional additions – sliced snap peas, blanched asparagus tips, sliced cherry tomatoes, hard boiled quail egg (sliced in half), capers, sprouts, edible flowers
Crab Louie Dressing ( see notes)
- ½ cup mayo (or use vegan mayo)
- ¼ cup ketchup (or ketchup based chili sauce like Heinz Chili Sauce)
- ½-1 teaspoon sriracha, if using ketchup (more to taste)
- ½-1 teaspoon horseradish
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire (optional)
- salt and peper to taste
Pick out 8 beautiful, similarly sized butter lettuce leaves and arrange on a platter.
Divide the avocado and cucumber ribbons, placing long ways in the cups.
Divided the crab among the lettuce cups then tuck the radishes in and around it.
Top with sliced snap peas, or tuck in any other veggies or additions. Top with a few fresh tarragon or dill leaves. At this point you could wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Make the dressing by whisking the ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste, adjust salt and lemon. Serve the dressing on the side or drizzle over top, right before serving. Sometimes I’ll place the bowl of dressing in the center of the platter, with the cups arranged around it.
For an even lighter version, you could serve with a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper – but the creamy dressing is really tasty.
A fresh tarragon mustard seed vinaigrette is nice with this too.
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