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I made crab dip before, but I wasn’t quite happy with the taste– I was trying to replicate the baked crab dip at Horatio’s (A restaurant in San Leandro that has famous crab dip) but it tasted too tangy to me. Well, crab season is here again so I’m fine tuning the recipe. It’s much closer to Horatio’s and way better than my previous versions. This will be on my winter party food list when crab is in season. Yes, a keeper 🙂

Baked Dungeness Crab Dip

Baked Dungeness Crab Dip

Baked Dungeness Crab Dip (makes 1 appertizer serving)

Ingredients:

1 cooked Dungeness crab– pick out the meat
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic– chopped
1/2 cup onion– thinly sliced
2 stalks green onion– chopped
3/4 cup freshly shredded asiago cheese
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus extra

1 small container sour cream
2 tbsp mayonnaise

Seasoning to taste:
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp spicy mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Method:

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan, sauté garlic and onion for a few minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Add all ingredients and sautéed onion in a mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon to combine. Pour mixture into a 9″ pie dish. Smooth the surface and sprinkle extra mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes, until it’s bubbly and the top crust is golden brown. Serve hot with sliced bread or crackers.

Regina’s Note:

  • Crab: Dungeness crab meat taste better than canned crab meat. Picking the meat out takes some time but can be done 1-2 days ahead and kept chilled in fridge. For adventurous eaters, creamy yellowish crab brain inside the body shell (scoop out with a spoon and put in a separate container and keep chilled) can also be added for more flavor. When sautéing onion, add this creamy goodness to sauce pan and cook until the oil starts separating, stirring at all times. This will take a few minutes.
  • Mozzarella cheese: add more mozzarella cheese if you want more cheese stringy look, but not too much as it will change the texture of the dip.
  • Flavor: sugar is added to help bring out the sweetness of the crab meat, so it has a sweet taste along with savory. Do not add too much salt or the flavor will change.

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My MIL is visiting us during spring break. So when I went shopping at Costco last week I got a tub of hand picked Dungeness crab meat; thinking to make something crabby because she likes crab. Then I remember the famous crab dip at Horatio’s– it was so rich, creamy and delicious that I can never forget. So I decided to replicate the flavor.

This is my second time making crab dip. My first crab dip few years back, although wowed by my guests, was not exactly what I was expecting– it just didn’t taste like Horatio’s at all. People who have been to Horatio’s try to replicate the flavor but none has success. I thought I might have most ingredients, and here comes my experiment…

The verdict: Compared to my first trial which I used pepper jack cheese, this time around the dip tastes a lot better and more like Horatio’s version– creamy and rich, and not tangy. I didn’t use marinated artichoke hearts though (Horatio’s got artichoke hearts in the dip). I sliced some torta sandwich rolls from Costco and made some garlic crostini to serve the dip. My MIL likes it very much. She even asks for the recipe. This recipe is a keeper until I crack down Horatio’s secret ingredients (especially the cheese they use…):-)

Dungeness Crab Dip

Dungeness Crab Dip

Crab Dip Recipe (please note this is for a large portion enough for a party appetizer, but you can scale down for smaller serving)

Ingredients:
1/4 medium onion– chopped
3 cloves garlic– chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb Dungeness crab lump meat, free of shells
2 cup shredded Italian five cheese mix, plus more for sprinkling
6 oz champagne aged Cheddar Cheese– grated– see note below
5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
6 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

garlic crostini– recipe follows

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a big sauce pan, melt butter and saute onion and garlic over medium heat until aromatic. Set aside to cool.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the sauce pan, mix gently to combine. Transfer to a oven safe bowl or deep dish container (I used Pyrex glass casserole). Sprinkle more five cheese mix on the top. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn to broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown the top (always keep an eye on the food when you are broiling, don’t turn away and do something else). Serve hot with garlic crostini.

Garlic Crostini Recipe:

Ingredients:
4 torta sandwich rolls (I bought from Costco)– slice into 1/2 inch thin
extra virgin olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange slice breads on a large baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, then salt and pepper. Turn the breads over and do the same. Bake 3-4 minutes on each side of the bread, or until light golden brown.
  2. Remove from the oven, and rub garlic on each side of crostini.

Regina’s Note:

  • Champgne aged Cheddar cheese: I used this cheese because I just happened to have it (got it from Costco), but regular aged cheddar cheese should be fine too. I won’t go for sharp Cheddar because the flavor might be too strong for the dip.

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