Warm Crab Dip with Four Cheeses


Recipe excerpted from Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook

Serves 6 - 8



  • 24 diagonal slices, 1/4-inch thick, of ciabatta or similar good-quality bread (from a 12-to-16-ounce loaf)
  • 1 pound fresh crab claw meat, picked through
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Crystal pepper sauce or other relatively mild Louisiana pepper sauce
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian (fiat-leaf) parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1¾ cups finely julienned Vidalia or other sweet onions, 1/8 inch wide and about 2 inches long
  • 1¾ cups finely julienned red onions, 1/8  inch wide and about 2 inches long
  • 1/2 cup finely julienned shallots I/8 inch wide and about 2 inches long
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup good quality dry sherry
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 7 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into I/4-inch cubes
  • 7 ounces Asiago cheese, cut into I/4-inch cubes
  • 1 ounce Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 6 - 8 tablespoons freshly and finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Warm Crab Dip with Four Cheeses

Warm Crab Dip with Four Cheeses

Click image to enlarge


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Using non-stick vegetable spray the gratin dish or individual ramekins and set them aside.

On a rimmed baking sheet arrange the bread slices in a single layer and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the crab with the mustard, pepper sauce, parsley, tarragon, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper or to taste. Mix well and set aside.

In a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil with 1 tablespoon butter until the butter melts. Add the Vidalia and red onions, shallots and garlic. Saute, until the onions are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutesstirring occasionally. Transfer the onion mixture from the skillet to a bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth, and cook until the flour very lightly browns, about 1 1/2 minutes, whisking constantly. Add the sherry and cook 30 seconds. Whisk in the cream, turn heat to high and cook until the sauce comes to a boil and becomes noticeably thicker, three to five minutes, whisking constantly.

Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the Fontina, Asiago and Gorgonzola cheeses. Continue cooking just until all the cheese cubes are melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir the cheese mixture and onions into the reserved crab mixture, mixing thoroughly. Spoon the dip into the prepared gratin dish or ramekins.

Sprinkle the top(s) with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake the dip, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Once the dip has baked for 10 minutes, add the baking sheet of bread slices to the oven, and continue baking until the top is golden brown and the bread is lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

Serve immediately, with the toasted bread in a serving bowl or a basket alongside the dip.


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