It’s Memorial Day and time to dine on the water, and it doesn’t get any fresher than this: Gulf shrimp and lump crabmeat combine with a zesty Creole dressing in this light Louisiana Seafood Salad with fresh coastal flavors. And it’s easy with this simple recipe.
With the summer vacation season here, most of Acadiana has already packed up and headed east to white sand beaches–Gulf Shores, Pensacola or, most popular, Destin. I love it so, but when I don’t have enough time for a long stay, I drive against the traffic just 90 minutes westward to my special waterfront refuge–Regatta.
Every time I talk about this joint I refer to it as an undiscovered gem–so far removed from the mainstream restaurant scene that it is my well-kept secret. And then every time I visit, it is jam-packed. Secret no more, I proclaim Regatta Restaurant as a Cajun treasure that is quickly achieving greatness. Greg Trahan sold his Lafayette-based company and in 2011 went back to his Lake Arthur, Louisiana roots to build a world-class restaurant experience. He has succeeded
The menu is diverse with steaks and pasta along with traditional Cajun recipe fare, but it is the fresh seafood I come for. With its spectacular view overlooking Lake Arthur, you just know this brackish water is home to the freshest seafood around. It’s just a short boat ride to the Gulf and judging by all the fishing and pleasure boats–seaplanes, too–tied up at the restaurant’s dock, Regatta has become a must-stop along these waters.
There are several menu items that are off the charts, but my favorite summery Cajun dish is the fresh Louisiana seafood salad. Sitting outside listening to live music with an ice-cold bottle of Corona, this Louisiana seafood salad couldn’t be fresher or simpler. These are the down-home pleasures of life in Acadiana.
- 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus more if needed)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 quarts water
- 4 tablespoons liquid crab boil
- 2 pounds jumbo raw Gulf shrimp
- 1 pound jumbo lump, Louisiana blue crabmeat
- 2 cups spring mix lettuce greens
- 2 cups spinach leaves, stems removed
- 2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound packaged Louisiana crawfish tails
- 1 pound cooked Louisiana blue crab claws, shelled
- 2 lemons, quartered
- In a mixing bowl, add the mustard, vinegar, orange juice, and lemon juice as well as the sugar. Whisk the mixture while slowly drizzling the olive oil. When the emulsion is complete, add salt and black pepper to taste. Be sure not to over-salt since the seafood will have a natural saltiness. Cover and refrigerate.
- In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil and add the crab boil seasoning. Add the raw shrimp and cook until done, about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- Peel the shrimp leaving the tail intact. Place the crabmeat into a mixing bowl and gently pick through and discard any shell pieces. Cover both and chill.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the spring mix, spinach, iceberg lettuce, and shredded carrots and mix thoroughly. Add the cherry tomatoes either whole or slice in half if large.
- On individual chilled plates, place a generous serving of the salad mixture. Take a small ramekin and mound a 4-ounce serving of lump crabmeat in the center of the salad mixture. Place portions of boiled shrimp, crawfish tails and crab claws around the salad.
- Remove the dressing from the refrigerator and pour individual portions in small cups or ramekins. Place the dressing on the plate nestled in the greens. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with an ice-cold beer.
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