Well, such a good reaction to the crab salad on Friday, plus a delightful cup of she-crab soup for dinner on Saturday, meant I had to pull another crab recipe out of the recipe box. This one is for the retro favorite and rarely seen these days-crab imperial.
I know this recipe says you can go with frozen or canned crab meat but what do recipes know? Well, actually, this works fine with less than primo crab so you COULD go with the frozen or canned but don’t if you can help it. Find yourself some nice blue crabs, preferably from the Chesapeake Bay and get to work! You will be glad you did.
Chesapeake Crab Imperial
* 1 pound fresh or frozen fancy lump crab meat
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
Dash of white pepper
1 cup milk or half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons sherry
Dash of Tabasco
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 pimiento, chopped
1/8 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
Heat oven to 350 F. (moderate). Remove any shell and cartilage from crab meat, being careful to keep meat in large pieces. Melt butter in saucepan; add onion and green pepper and cook over moderate heat until tender. Blend in flour, salt, celery, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in sherry and Tabasco. Beat egg slightly in a medium-sized bowl. Gradually add cream sauce to beaten egg; fold in crab meat, parsley, pimiento and orange rind. Spoon crab meat mixture into 6 well buttered crab shells or 5-ounce custard cups. Toss bread crumbs and melted butter together and sprinkle over crab meat. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until crumbs are lightly browned. Serves 6.
*3 61/2 ounce cans white crab meat, well drained, may be substituted for fresh or frozen crab meat. Reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon.