CRAB IMPERIAL
In order to achieve the best and freshest-tasting crab dishes worthy of the name "Chespeake", over the past years I had to take apart more than four recipes from around the entire Del-Mar-Va area (including Crisfield's in Silver Spring, Maryland), even Senator Barbara Mikulski's recipe, and Chef Bobby Flay's recipe from Food TV Network. This combination yields the yummiest and "crabbiest" dishes that should satisfy anyone's craving for a very special crab dish.
Serve with baked potatoes and a green vegetable or salad
Serves: 4
Prep. Time: About 30 minutes
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1/4 cup finely minced green bell pepper
1 teaspoon butter or vegetable oil
Pinch kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Coleman's dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/2 cup mayonnaise -- divided
1 pound jumbo lump blue crab meat
2 tablespoons melted butter
In a small skillet over medium-low heat, saute onion and green pepper in the 1 teaspoon butter 2-3 minutes until just soft. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper, until soft; remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, reserved onion mixture, capers, Old Bay and dry mustard. In a small bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce, egg and 1/3 cup of the mayonnaise.
Working next to the bowls and using your fingers, carefully pick over the crabmeat, discarding any small pieces of shell and cartilage (there shouldn't be much for high-quality crab meat), and dropping the picked-over pieces into the crumb-onion mixture. Try not to break up the lumps of crab meat.
Pour egg mixture into the crab mixture Using a large fork, gently toss the crabmeat mixture so as not to break up the lumps of crabmeat. Spray 4 ovenproof seafood shell dishes or ramekins with cooking spray (preferably butter-flavored). Heap crabmeat mixture into the shells; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over the crab imperial and drizzle with melted butter (or top with dots of remaining mayonnaise). Place dishes or ramekins of crab imperial onto a shallow baking pan; bake on the center shelf 10-12 miniutes or until crabmeat is lightly brown on top and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Copyright 2002 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved