Crab-Artichoke Appetizer

Here is a really easy and festive hors d’oeuvre for the holidays. All you do is boil an artichoke, buy some baby shrimp or fresh crab, and make a quick Louis-type dressing. Actually, I buy the shrimp, the crab, and the Louis dressing at Swan Oyster Depot on Polk Street, between Sacramento and California Streets here in San Francisco. They have the crab hand-picked from the shell—which is the best! In fact, you can buy whole crab all cracked and ready to go there too!


  • large fresh artichokes
  • slice of lemon
  • clove of garlic
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 lb. fresh crab or baby shrimp
  • 1-1/2 cup homemade (or Best Foods) mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chile sauce (or tomato ketchup)
  • 1/3 cup sweet relish
  • 2 to 3 dashes tobasco
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Bring a large stainless steel or enamel pot of water to a boil on top of the stove; add the artichoke with the lemon, garlic, olive oil and salt. Simmer about 45 minutes, until tender when pierced in the bottom with a fork. Drain upside down on paper towels.

In a small glass bowl, mix the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, tobasco, lemon, salt and pepper.

When the artichoke is cool enough to handle, remove the leaves one at a time. With a large metal spoon, scoop out the fuzz from the choke.

Arrange the leaves on a round platter in circles. Cut the choke in sixths and place in the middle of the platter. Place a half teaspoon of dressing in each leaf. Cover with a half teaspoon of the crab or shrimp. Serve as an hors d’oeuvre with a little plate for the eaten leaves.

Copyright © Mary S. Risley

Serves 12.