In his cookbook, John Martin Taylor suggests baking and serving the deviled crabmeat in crab backs (shells), a presentation he learned from Alice Marks, one of Charleston’s great cooks. But since most people purchase their crabmeat already picked from the shell, we baked our deviled crab in store-bought scallop shells instead.
Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 50 min
Makes 8 first-course servings.
- 1stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/2cup finely chopped sweet onion such as vidalia
- 1/2cup finely chopped celery
- 1lb jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
- 11/2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 8saltine crackers
- 1/4cup medium-dry sherry such as amontillado, or to taste
- cayenne or sherry pepper sauce* to taste
- 1/4teaspoon salt, or to tastespecial equipment:8 (5-inch) scallop shells** or 3-oz shallow baking dishes
DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350°F.
Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook onion and celery, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Gently toss crab with lemon juice.
Coarsely crush saltines with your hands in a large bowl. Stir in onion mixture, Sherry, cayenne, and salt, then fold in crab.
Divide among scallop shells and bake in middle of oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
* We use Outerbridge’s brand, from Bermuda. Available at specialty foods shops and from 441-296-4451 or outerbridge.com.
** Available at Bridge Kitchenware (800-274-3435).