The best blue crab you’ve ever eaten isn’t frozen or imported. It’s right here in the good old US of A — just ask any aficionado. Specifically, it can be found along the nutrient-rich Gulf Coast, which is home to plump, meaty shellfish in extraordinary abundance.
Gulf Coast Seafood has been providing fishermen, grocers, chefs and foodies with an economic engine that powers the entire region. The Gulf Coast produces 70 percent of the nation’s oysters and 69 percent of domestic shrimp and is a leading producer of domestic hard- and soft-shell blue crabs.
Thanks to the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board for this awesome blue crab gratin recipe. Don’t worry, these crabs don’t bite. We’re pretty sure you’re the one who will be biting (and biting, and biting) until it’s all gone.
- 2 pounds jumbo lump Gulf blue crab meat
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, divided
- 1 1/2 cups onions, minced
- 1 cup celery, diced small
- 1 cup green peppers, diced small
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated and divided
- 2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons tabasco sauce
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 4 teaspoons Creole seasoning, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- salt, to taste
- ground white pepper, to taste
- 1 cup green onions, chopped
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 loaves French bread, sliced and toasted
- Add 4 tablespoons of butter and the onions to a medium sauté pan. Cook gently until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the celery and green peppers and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.
- In a medium sauce pot, melt the remaining 12 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the flour and mix well. Add the white wine, milk and heavy cream. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire, 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning and nutmeg. Stir until the cheese is melted. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Remove from heat and reserve.
- Combine the onion mixture with the cream mixture. Add the Gulf blue crab meat and green onions. Toss gently to combine. Taste and add salt and white pepper as needed.
- Combine the panko bread crumbs, the remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese, the remaining 1 cup Parmesan cheese and the remaining 2 teaspoons of Creole seasoning.
- Divide the crab mixture into 12 buttered gratin dishes. Top each dish generously with the bread crumb mixture.
- Bake in the oven at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes and then place under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the tops.
- Serve with sliced toasted French bread.
Try some more recipes from the Gulf Coast region from Food Republic: