Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tangy Crab Bread Appetizer

Crabmeat mixed with a tangy blend of sour cream and mayo, layered on French bread with cream cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. Cut into slices and serve hot for a great appetizer!
Crabmeat mixed with a tangy blend of sour cream and mayo, layered on French bread with cream cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. Cut into slices and serve hot for a great appetizer!

Tangy Crab Bread

There was a local seafood restaurant, called Catch of the Day, where us gals used to gather on occasion after a long day at the office. Okay. It may have been more often than occasionally that we gathered to gossip, moan and complain about work and co-workers, over a nice tall glass of Long Island iced tea and listen to a little music. It was quite a popular after-work place there for a few years.

It's been gone for a few years now though, as has my nearly two hour daily commute to and fro, and while they had all the typical Gulf Coast fare, their crab bread definitely had top billing. A tangy spread of crab meat, served on fresh, hot, split French bread, like everybody else, I loved it too.

Though the actual recipe isn't out there anywhere that I know of, this is the version I came up with after a few experiments of my own. I did pattern it somewhere between those multiple attempts and a version and that is found in the cookbook, Recipes To Remember from Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Biloxi.

I tried using both more and less of the lemon juice and thought that about 1/2 tablespoon seemed right. I tried a white sauce at first, but knew that wasn't right, so I went with a combination of cream cheese with butter on the bread, and a blend of sour cream, lemon juice and mayonnaise for the crab, which seemed to have the right tang to it.

I also tried using Swiss cheese, white American cheese and Monterey Jack cheeses and settled on liking the latter the best. To me, the bread almost needed a milder cheese than Swiss to counter the other sour elements, but American was too mild. And, the crab.

One half pound works nicely though if you can afford it, go for the full pound. I used lump here, but use what your budget will allow. It may not be their  exact recipe, but it sure is good, and of course, as always, after you make the bread that first time, adjust everything to your own individual taste.

The bread is best served right out of the oven, gooey and warm and sliced into pieces, and would be a great appetizer or snack for just about any gathering. Put it on a platter, hand out some small plates, pass it around and watch it go! It would be a great addition to your movie night, party or game day menu!

Note: I did hear from Steven, a former relative of the owner and employee, who tells me all they did was use the house dressing - a mixture of mayo, sour cream, garlic powder, green onion (green part only), Parmesan, and parsley flakes - with a little extra Parmesan cheese added to it. I'm pretty happy with my version though.

Here's how to make it.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Split the French bread in half lengthwise. Cream together the softened cream cheese and butter and spread evenly on cut sides of both lengths of French bread. Sprinkle each lightly with the garlic powder.


Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese on each length of bread. Set aside on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet.


Blend together the mayonnaise, sour cream, Old Bay, Cajun seasoning, parsley and lemon juice.


Mix until well blended. This "dressing" is fairly versatile, so you can use more or less on the mayo and sour cream, and add more lemon or even the lemon zest if you like more tang.


I used fresh Gulf lump crab, but use whatever you have. Pick through for shell fragments and warm it on medium low in the microwave to take the chill off. That's just to give it a bit of a head start for the oven. Add to the mayo mixture.


Fold that in.


Divide the crabmeat mixture evenly between the two lengths of bread and spread it out on top of the cheese.


Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over both halves.


Divide the remaining cup of shredded cheese evenly over each length of bread. Best I can remember, the Catch restaurant didn't actually put any cheese on top, but I like it, so I do. You can certainly omit it if you prefer.


For softer bread with just a slight crunch, pull the foil up around the sides of the bread; for a crisper bread that has more crunch, just leave the foil flat.


Warm through in the preheated 400 degree F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until mixture is hot and cheese is melted.


Carefully transfer to a cutting board.


Slice and serve immediately.



Recipe: Tangy Crab Bread Appetizer

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 large loaf of French bread, split in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, divided
  • 2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup of real mayonnaise
  • 1-1/4 cups of sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1/2 pound of crabmeat, picked through and warmed
  • 1 tablespoon of shredded Parmesan, optional
Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Split the bread in half lengthwise. Combine the cream cheese and butter until well blended and spread evenly on cut sides of both lengths of French bread. Sprinkle both breads lightly with the garlic powder. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese on each length of bread. Set aside on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet.

Blend together the mayonnaise, sour cream, Old Bay, Cajun seasoning, parsley and lemon juice. Squeeze out or drain any excess moisture from the crab, gently fold the crab into the mayonnaise mixture. Spoon the crabmeat mixture evenly between the two lengths of bread and use a spatula to spread it out. Sprinkle the crab mixture with Parmesan and divide the remaining cup of shredded cheese evenly over each length of bread. For softer bread, pull the foil up around the sides of the bread; for a bread that has more crunch, leave the foil flat. Warm through in the preheated 400 degree F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until mixture is hot and cheese is melted. Use a serrated knife to slice and serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: The Catch of the Day Restaurant didn't actually put any cheese on top to my recollection, but I like it. You can certainly omit it if you prefer.

Tip: To easily pick out any shell, spread crab on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in a 200 degree oven for 3 minutes. The shell will be visible and easy to pick out.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on September 8, 2011
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