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Getting crabby

Cathie Campbell/The Madera Tribune
Dig in to a simple yet tasty crab and shrimp boil, with potatoes, onions and sausage.


Crab is one of my very favorite foods.  In fact, my favorite meal is a whole Dungeness crab, all to myself, and a large artichoke. That’s it! Except for some melted butter for the crab meat and a bit of mayonnaise for the artichoke.


Today while looking through my recipes, I kept seeing so many that use crab meat, so I thought it would be fun to feature crab this week. It can be used in appetizers, main dishes and in other ways, but I highly doubt it shows up on any dessert menus. Who knows, it might!


If you are feeling crabby and you are a fan of that particular delicacy, I hope you find something here you’d like to try. Make sure any crab meat you buy is picked over for possible bits of shell.

Hot crab dip
1 pound lump crab meat
1 cup shredded pepper-jack cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup minced green onions, tops included
6 cloves roasted garlic, minced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 325.  In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to a greased oven-proof casserole dish.

  2. Bake in preheated oven for for about 40 minutes, or until mixture is thoroughly heated. Serve hot with crackers or toast points. Makes 4 cups dip.


Crab and shrimp nachos
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound small or medium peeled and deveined shrimp
2 teaspoons toasted ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced or pressed garlic
1 pound lump crab meat
3/4 cup sour cream
1 bunch green onions, cleaned and sliced
1 bag (about 9 ounces) corn tortilla chips
3 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup sliced pickled jalapeno peppers

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp, toasted cumin and garlic; cook about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until shrimp are done.

  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked shrimp mixture, crab meat, sour cream and green onions.

  3. Spread tortilla chips on a foil or parchment lined shallow baking sheet (with sides). Top with crab and shrimp mixture, then sprinkle shredded cheese and jalapeno slices over.

  4. Broil 5 to 6 inches from heat about 2 minutes or until cheese is thoroughly melted. Serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Crab Imperial
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour or Wondra flour
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat (the best you can find)
Ground paprika or cayenne pepper, for garnish
4 small fresh lemon wedges

  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, Old Bay Seasoning and sugar, until well blended.

  2. Carefully fold in the flour, parsley and the crab meat until the all are well mixed.  Take care to avoid breaking up the lumps of crab meat[ set aside.

  3. Line a 17 1/2-by-12 1/2-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray four, 6-ounce au gratin dishes with cooking spray.

  4. Spoon crab mixture evenly into the prepared au gratin dishes. Pour the liquid remaining in the bowl evenly between the four dishes.  Lightly sprinkle the tops with paprika or cayenne pepper.

  5. Bake in preheated oven (center) for 18 to 20 minutes, or until puffy, set and lightly browned. Cool 5 to 10 minutes prior to serving. Makes 4 servings.


Maryland crab cakes
From the folks at McCormick.

2 slices white bread, crusts removed, crumbled
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons McCormick Old Bay Seasoning
2 teaspoons McCormick Parsley Flakes
1/2 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 pound lump crab meat

  1. Mix bread, mayonnaise, Old Bay Seasoning, parsley, mustard and egg in large bowl until well blended. Gently stir in crab meat. Shape into 4 patties.

  2. Broil 10 minutes without turning or fry until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle with additional Old Bay, if desired. Makes 4 servings.


Low country crab and shrimp boil
8 red potatoes, scrubbed clean
8 Andouille sausages, sliced (or kielbasa)
2 pounds fresh, large shrimp, in shell
4 whole Dungeness crabs, cooked, cleaned and halved (leave in shell)
4 onions, quartered
4 ears fresh sweet corn, cut into halves
1/2 cup seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay), or to taste (I like about half that much)

  1. In a large pot, bring water to  boil (enough water to cover all ingredients). When water is boiling, add potatoes, sausages, shrimp, crab, onions, corn and seafood seasoning. Cook mixture at a boil until the potatoes are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

  2. Drain water and serve in a very large bowl or deep platter. Makes 6 to 8 servings, depending on your guests’ appetites.