July 27, 2009

Crab Ramekin au Gratin


Cajun Monday in the Bayou


Crab meat is divine any time of the year but when summer comes around and you find yourself sitting at the end of the pier, watching all those big blues go scurrying around, you just gotta throw in a crab trap. Next morning, you'll have a fine mess of blue crabs and after you spend the day boiling them and picking the meat, you'll find the effort was so well worth it - especially with this outstanding recipe.  

Crab Ramekin au Gratin 
8 servings

1 stick butter
1/4 cup diced white onion
1/4 cup sliced green onion tops
1/3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup green diced bell pepper
1/2 cup red diced bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound crab claw meat
1 pound crab lump meat
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, warmed
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1/2 cup grated Gruyere or Gouda cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
6 level tablespoons fine bread crumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter the bottom and sides of 8 ramekin or au gratin dishes.
In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the next 6 ingredients and saute 3 to 5 minutes until onions wilt. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well. Slowly whisk in the cream and bring to a low boil stirring constantly. Sauce should thicken quickly. Reduce heat to simmer. Add the wine, lemon juice and pepper sauce. Stir in half of the cheese and stir until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley and cook on low 5 minutes stirring constantly to keep from scorching. Thin with milk if sauce becomes too thick but it should be the consistency of a white sauce.
Moisten the breadcrumbs with the melted butter.
Divide crab mixture among the 8 dishes, top with remaining cheese and sprinkle each ramekin with 1 teaspoon of the bread crumbs.
Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and breadcrumbs become lightly toasted.

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