Summer is just around the corner for us here on the Chesapeake, and for my family – that means bushels of crabs steamed on the regular. My dad and Jon run the trotline early on Sunday mornings, and are usually home by 10 AM with a full bushel of #1 Jimmies (or males). This year, our oldest son Andrew – who just turned five, will be old enough to go out and help man the line and net. I know everyone is excited for that!
They haven’t had a chance to go out yet this year, as the water is just starting to warm up. But, I managed to get my hands on a few to steam, and then pick to make a delicious dinner out of to share with you guys. Crab Imperial is on just about every local restaurant menu here on the Eastern Shore. It’s usually used to stuff into fish or shrimp, which of course is delicious. But a GOOD crab imperial – well, I think it’s bright enough to shine on it’s own. Lump crab, tossed with a luscious cream sauce, then baked to perfection – it’s divine. I found the cute little vintage crab dishes at a yard sale, but a ramekin or shallow au gratin dish would be just fine to bake in as well.
I’m so thankful to live in an area where my boys can experience this – learning to crab from their grandfather, who learned it from his father before him – right here on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
Time to stock up on Old Bay and Boh, Maryland kiddos – summer is coming!
1/2 lb fresh lump crab meat
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp Old Bay seafood seasoning
1/3 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, heavy cream, and egg. Carefully mix until combined (I used my mini-food processor). Add the crab meat, lemon, Old Bay, and salt. Toss gently to combine.
Spoon mixture into 4 individual ramekins or another small baking dish, and place on baking sheet. Top with a bit of the cheddar cheese.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until everything is starting to brown and bubble.
Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.