Being a Marylander, I’ve often wondered if a love of all things BLUE CRAB is somehow coded into my DNA. My husband’s from Ohio, and he can take it or leave it, but everyone else I know who was born in Maryland LOVES blue crabs. If you’re a Marylander like me and you love blue crabs, give up the ghost on trying to fight it — you can’t fight your eye color; you can’t fight your skin color, and you can’t fight that consistent craving for the tasty other- other- other- white meat that makes you want to layer newspaper on your table and break out the mallets come Springtime.

There’s really only one improvement I would make of the near-perfect blue crab – I’d put all of that lovely meat into one big shell, so there’d be no little shells to speak of (and spit out). If I were rich, I’d have cream of crab soup, crab cakes, jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab imperial, crab melt-aways and steamed crabs for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day of the week, every week of the year – and I’d never get tired of it. But alas (* SIGHS *), I’m not rich, so I have to settle for the occasional blue crab indulgence which, although very good, only briefly satiates this compulsive yen of mine.

So, in honor of the wonderful…the delicious…the amazing…blue crab, today’s post is for the ever-popular Hot Crab Dip, which can be served as an appetizer at any number of occasions or even just as a snack for a cozy family evening at home.

Now, I’ve found that most hot crab dips are pretty much the same: Cream cheese base with seasonings, crab meat and grated cheese; some people add slivered almonds, too, but I can never tell if I’m spitting out a shell or a nut, so I omit them from my dip. However, the last time I made this, I tried something new which gave it an extra something I really can’t explain. I guess it has to do with cream cheese and how it’s kind of bland, even when it’s seasoned. I don’t know why I did it…it was just one of those cook’s hunches that happened to pan out.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese (or 1 8-oz. cream cheese and 1 8-oz. neufchatel cheese)
2 teaspoons of soy sauce OR Worcestershire sauce
2 TBS mayonnaise
1 packet of Lipton Golden Onion soup
Parsley flakes
Garlic powder
Old Bay seasoning
16 oz. Container of Maryland blue crab meat (picked over for shells, if desired)
Grated cheese mixture (Kraft’s mild cheddar and American blend is a good choice)
Crackers or bread of your choice

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a glass baking dish with PAM.
2. Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature.
3. Empty onion soup mix into a wire mesh strainer, and shake the soup powder into a small bowl; the idea is to separate the dried onions from the powder. Set aside.
4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, soy sauce (or Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise until well blended.
5. Add 1 TBS of the onion soup powder and a couple sprinkles each of the parsley flakes, garlic powder and Old Bay to the cream cheese mixture; stir until well-blended. Taste to see if it’s seasoned to your liking; if not, add more Old Bay and/or onion soup powder. Note: Keep in mind that once you’ve added too much Old Bay, you can’t UN-add it, so do so sparingly; you can always put some extra Old Bay in a shaker on the side for those who like their crab dip both hot AND spicy.
6. Once the base is seasoned to your liking, add the crab meat. Note: The thickness of this base makes it virtually impossible to blend-in the crab meat without breaking it up, so I wouldn’t invest in anything more expensive than backfin – save the lump for cream of crab soup, crab imperial or crab cakes.
7. Spoon mixture evenly into baking dish and sprinkle with grated cheese.
8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the grated cheese is melted and the sides of the dish are bubbling ever so slightly. Serve hot with crackers and/or bread pieces and ENJOY!






For a printer-friendly .pdf file of this recipe, CLICK HERE.


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