When you live in Maryland, you learn at a pretty early age to love the Maryland blue crab! I’ll bet when I was little, after navigating my first bowl of spaghetti & meatballs, the next thing my family did was put a crab mallet in my hand and taught me to eat steamed hard crabs – more on that in the summer! In my home state, we pretty much love crab any way we can get it. Maryland crab soup, cream of crab soup, crab cakes, crab imperial, crab pretzels, crab omelets – you know name it! A big favorite is Maryland Hot Crab Dip and I think this is on the menu of almost every restaurant in town. We love making it at home, because any day is perfect for a bowl of this creamy, delicious dip, chock full of big pieces of sweet, crab meat. Don’t just wait for a special occasion – whip up a batch for Super Bowl Sunday!
As with any recipe, there are lots of variations. Most of my friends in Maryland make one of two different versions of crab dip. The one I’m sharing today and one that is made in a Béchamel (white) sauce with heavy cream, sherry and cognac. I think it’s a matter of personal preference. I’ve found the version in the white sauce has a tendency to separate and I think Swiss cheese is a tiny bit overpowering for the crab – but that’s just me! Some tips on storing crab after the recipe.
Maryland Hot Crab Dip
- ½ pint sour cream
- Two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons onion juice (See note below)
- Juice of one-half lemon
- ½ teaspoon of Old Bay or seafood seasoning
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Milk to thin (optional)
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 pound crab meat (lump, backfin or mixed)
- Paprika (optional)
Note: If onion juice (such as Howard’s or Reese) is not readily available, here’s a little trick! Buy a jar of pearl cocktail onions and use the juice! I’ve done that plenty of times and the dip tastes great!
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine the sour cream, cream cheese, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion juice, lemon juice, Old Bay, mayonnaise and half of the cheddar cheese. If mixture is very thick, add a small amount of milk. Add crab meat. Place mixture in a baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and if desired, with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and bubbling.
Serve with slices of French bread, crackers and for a lower carb treat, with celery or carrots. In our family, this dip disappears so quickly you have to get it fast! I just had to share some crab dip in my crab bowl – this bowl belonged to my grandparents and he is my happy little Maryland mascot!
Here are some tips on handling and storing crab meat, from the Maryland Dept. of Agriculture:
- Store fresh crab meat on ice or in the coldest part of your refrigerator and use within a few days.
- Pasteurized crab meat has been hermetically sealed in a can – this means it has been completely sealed against the escape or entry of air. Pasteurized crab meat can be stored for several months in the coldest part of the fridge, but don’t freeze it! Crab meat has a delicate flavor that is lost quickly when frozen.
- Once opened, pasteurized crab meat should be used as fresh, within a few days.
- Crab meat may be frozen in a mixed form, such as crab cakes.
While we are fortunate (we think!) to have fresh crab meat available almost year-round, there has been a time or two when we were unable to purchase fresh and bought pasteurized. Check with your grocer or seafood store if you have questions about the quality of any crab meat.
I’m planning to share some more recipes this year using crab. Do you like crab? Have you ever been to the mid-Atlantic region and tried Maryland blue crab?
Thanks so much for visiting! As I like to say – eat lots of crab but don’t be ever crabby! 🙂
Sharing at these great parties!