Crab dip always makes me think of summer – warm, breezy days sitting somewhere near water and enjoying a meal without a care in the world. When my Chief Culinary Consultant lived outside of Washington, D.C., we did a lot of eating out at restaurants when I would visit for the weekend. Crab dip was always one of our go-to appetizers, especially if it was during the spring or summer. If it was on the menu, there was a 99% chance we’d order it. Some of our favorite crab dips came from restaurants in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and in Annapolis. Unfortunately, I don’t find crab dip on menus nearly as often here in Pittsburgh as I did in the D.C. area, which means I had a kitchen project to tackle. It’s been a long time coming, but I finally put together a crab dip recipe to rival those that we would enjoy in Maryland-area restaurants.
While the flavors and textures of the crap dips we enjoyed varied from restaurant to restaurant, there were quite a few similarities – plenty of crab, creamy, cheesy, with a pop of lemon flavor and a touch of spice. I blended together a lot of different flavors and textures to create this dip and was thrilled with the result. It reminded me of sitting outside, the warm sun on my face, enjoying a leisurely weekend lunch.
This is a fabulous appetizer for any summertime get-together; it will be devoured in no time. What foods remind you of carefree summer days?
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Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
An easy recipe for Crab Dip - warm, cheesy, full of flavor and perfect for parties.
For the Dip:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 ounces lump crab meat (drained, if canned)
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup shredded)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon hot sauce
For the Topping:
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 1½-quart casserole dish; set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the red pepper and onion and cook until softened and all moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Remove the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool.
3. Add the rest of the dip ingredients to the bowl with the pepper mixture and gently stir together until combined, being careful not to smash the crab meat too much. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish.
4. With a fork, toss together the bread crumbs, Parmesan and melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the top of the dip.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with baguette slices or your favorite tortilla or pita chips. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.