Roasted Shrimp Louie Salad
When I go to a seafood restaurant, the first thing I look for on the menu is a shrimp louie salad. I’m always on the lookout for a great shrimp louie, and the great ones aren’t easy to come by. Yes, we definitely need good shrimp, but there’s so much more to it. I’ve gone to seafood restaurants where the louie consisted of less than fresh iceberg lettuce, tomatoes that tasted like they’ve been in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks (cold and flavorless), a scattering of chopped egg, and maybe one or two black olives. The worst part is when the thousand island dressing is thick and gloppy. Have your ever had a shrimp or crab Louie like that before? I have one too many times, unfortunately.
My favorite Louie salad is the Grilled Prawn Louie at Chow restaurant in Lafayette, CA, which is in the San Francisco Bay Area. Other locations are San Francisco & Danville, but Lafayette also has a market where they sell fresh produce, many of their menu items packaged to go, and so much more. Chow has the freshest ingredients, which is why I love it, and the Louie dressing is the best I’ve tasted. They actually sell the dressing in the market, so I usually buy it there when I want to make the salad at home. Whole Foods also has a great Louie dressing in the seafood section as well, but they don’t always have it. I’ll get around to making my own dressing at some point, but right now, I’m going with Chow’s dressing! Just use your favorite Thousand Island dressing. I’ve included Ina Garten’s recipe for roasted shrimp and her thousand island dressing below. Her dressing ingredients are almost exactly the same as Chow’s! One note about Chow’s grilled prawn louie — it comes in big iceberg wedges. If you don’t like working for your food, ask them to chop the lettuce for you and they will!
My idea of a great Louie salad starts with butter lettuce. It’s a nice, soft lettuce that I really love. You can buy it pre-cut in bags, or buy an entire head. You can even buy “living” butter lettuce, but I really have no idea why lettuce is better if its alive? I would assume it’s supposed to be fresher, but I have purchased it before and didn’t really notice a difference between a “living” head and a regular head. If you do, please fill me in. Next, you need great tomatoes, whether they’re from a farmer’s market or a store that sells great produce! Halved cherry tomatoes are great, too. I also love fresh scallions, the dark green tops from green onions, and creamy avocado. Last of all, there must be hard boiled eggs and black olives in my perfect louie salad. Mmmm…sounds good, doesn’t it? Basically, I make a big louie salad, dress it, toss it, then top it with the shrimp.
Most Louie’s come with small bay shrimp or crab. While I like crab, shrimp is my favorite. The other day, I decided to roast some jumbo shrimp Barefoot Contessa-style to top my Louie. Click this link for Ina’s Roasted Shrimp and Thousand Island Dressing recipe. It’s so easy to prepare — just toss the shrimp with some extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, place in a roasting pan, and roast 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. When it came out of the oven, I squeezed some fresh lemon juice over it.
I loved the warm, roasted shrimp atop my cold, fresh salad. As I mentioned, top this Roasted Shrimp Louie Salad with fresh crab or bay shrimp if you like. It is peak crab season, and this salad is the perfect thing to serve with it. I hope you try this salad, and enjoy it as much as I do!
- 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail-on
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ a lemon, plus more for garnish
- 1 head of butter lettuce, green or red leaves, washed well and drained
- ¼ cup fresh chopped scallions
- 1 large tomato, chopped into large chunks
- 1 avocado, chopped into large chunks
- 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped into large chunks
- ⅓ cup sliced black olives
- ¼-1/3 cup louie or thousand island dressing
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the cleaned shrimp on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss. Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until shrimp are nice and pink. Squeeze half of a lemon over the shrimp, and toss. Cool slightly while you assemble the salad.
- Tear the butter lettuce and place in a large bowl. I like to use a pasta bowl because of it's width. Top with the scallions and toss with the lettuce. Place the tomatoes, avocado, black olive, and hard boiled egg atop the lettuce. Immediately before serving, drizzle the top with dressing, and toss. Start with ¼ cup of dressing and toss. If you need more, add the dressing little by little. Don't over-dress or the salad will be heavy and soggy. Top the salad with the shrimp, and serve with lemon wedges.
- Roasted Shrimp recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa