I am not a fan of sandwiches. However, Crab Melt is a different story. The first time I had a crab Melt was on a family road trip north to Oregon. We stopped by a coastal town called Brookings (southern coast of Oregon) to have lunch at a marina that has seafood eateries. The family ordered some Crab Melt’s, fish n chips, grilled oysters and smoked salmon dip (best SS dip!) from two different stores. Everything was so fresh and good, and the whole family falls in love with Crab Melt ever since. Since the trip I have been trying to creat the same flavor of the sandwich that we had in Oregon. After a couple of recipe fine tuning I’m finally happy with the result.
Making Crab Melt is pretty much an easy assembly job. However, qualitied ingredient plays an important role to make it a good eat. Obviously you don’t want to waste Alaska King Crab meat on this sandwich, but please don’t use cheap crab or fake crab meat. Using some random cheese will throw the flavor off… etc. Please check out my note at the bottom for more details. Okay, let’s get started before the crab season is over!
Crab Melt… from the buttery golden crunchy crust, to the generous amount of sweet crab meat and Asiago cheese in the filling, with just enough Mozarrella cheese to bind together. Mmmm… now this IS good eat!
Crab Melt (makes 5 sandwiches)
1 Dungeness crab– pick out the meat– see note below
3/4 cup freshly shredded Asiago cheese– see note below
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese– see note below
2/3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese– see note below
10 big slices French bread– see note below
Butter to spread on bread
- Spread butter on one side of the bread. Lightly brown the bread slices (buttered side face down) on a sauté pan/skillet/griddle. Transfer bread to tray/plates with buttered side face up.
- Combine Asiago cheese and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle generous of cheese mixture on top of the bread, followed by Mozarrella cheese.
- Spoon generous amount of crab meat over Mozarrella cheese on 5 slices of the bread ONLY. Microwave all 10 slices about 1 minute until the cheese is slightly melted.
- Now find the bread partners– carefully flip over cheese slices over crab meat slices. Butter the top and bottom of the sandwiches, and grill on sauté pan/skillet/griddle until golden brown on both sides. Use a spatula to press down sandwiches to help bind the cheeses together. Serve fresh and hot.
- Crab meat: I like to use Dungeness crab meat but feel free to use any crab that is meaty and has a sweet taste. It’s best to use fresh crab (aka bought alive). Avoid using crab meat in a can or a tub as those are usually sourced in different country (different water, different taste…). Hand pick crab meta can take some time, but it can be done ahead of time and refrigerated (2-3 days) until ready to use.
- Asiago/Parmesan cheese: I find the cheese flavor goes very well with crab meat. Gruyere cheese is a good choice too. Because these cheeses taste salty so you don’t need to add salt to crab Melt. Avoid using Cheddar/Fontina/Gouda these sort of cheeses as they are too salty and will over power the delicated mild flavor of crab meat.
- Mozarrella cheese: I use this cheese only to bind the sandwich breads together. Don’t use too much Mozarrella cheese or you will have very cheesy sandwiches and won’t be able to taste the crab meat.
- French bread: I prefer French bread but you can use any bread you like. Avoid breads that have big air pockets such Ciabatta and Pugliese (fillings will fall out), or baguette (unless you like the chewiness).
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Cheese Sugar Pai Pau 乳酪白糖排包
I haven’t made 排包 ‘pai pau’ (bread rows) for a very long time. I miss that buttery soft pai pau from Kee Wah Bakery… Hmm, with only two tiny slices of whole wheat bread left on the counter, it’s time to make some more bread!~ Pai pau it is! Little did I realize that my previous pai pau recipes require dough starter which I didn’t have extra time to make… So I used a couple recipes as guideline and create this pai pau recipe that doesn’t use dough starter. Oh, and I always love Parmesan/Asiago cheese and sugar topping, so why not use it here to clean up my leftover cheese.
The taste: Well, bread made with or without a dough starter does make a difference, at least with this pai pau. Since I didn’t use any dough starter this time, my pai pau was a little dry the second day (I didn’t try it fresh on the baking day). I warmed it up a bit in microwave then the bread was soft again, but when it cools it gets drier and a little more dense. Oh well… as long as I have the crusty sugar cheesy topping, it’s fine with me 😉
Cheese Sugar Pai Pau 乳酪白糖排包 Recipe (makes 10 rows)
7/8 cup (210ml) milk– see note below
1 egg– beaten
3 1/3 cups bread flour– see note below
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
5 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp milk powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter– cut into pieces
1 beaten egg for egg wash
grated fresh Parmesan cheese (about 1 tbsp for each bread row)
sugar (about 1/2 tbsp for each bread row)
Method (using Zojirushi bread maker):
- Add milk and beaten egg to the bottom of bread maker loaf pan, followed by bread flour, ensuring covering all the liquid. Make a indentation in the center and add dry yeast to the indentation. Place sugar, cheese, milk powder, salt and butter in different corners (salt and sugar at opposite side). Select “Dough” course and press “Start”. When the machine starts kneading, check on the dough by touching– if it looks a bit dry and crumbly, add 1 tbsp of milk. If it’s too wet add 1 tbsp bread flour.
- When the course finishes, remove dough from loaf pan and place in a large bowl, covered with plastic wrap and rest in a warm place until double in size.
- Punch out the air and kneed to a log shape. Cut into 10 pieces, roll each piece of dough into a oblong shape, sprinkle some sugar (optional) and roll up lengthwise likes jelly roll. Pinch to seal the end. Place bread dough in a greased deep dish rectangle baking pan, slight apart from each other. Cover with plastic wrap and rest until they are double in height.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Apply egg wash on top of the bread, then sprinkle some Parmesan cheese, followed by sugar (sugar helps preventing the cheese from getting burnt).
- Bake for 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove pai pau from the pan and cool completely on a rack.
- Milk: Weather and different batch of bread flour affect the amount of liquid used. When the machine starts kneading, check the dough by touching: if it’s a bit dry/dense/crumbly, add 1 more tbsp milk. It it’s too wet/sticky, add 1 more tbsp bread flour.
- Measuring bread flour: the best and most accurate way is to measure by weight. If you measure by volume, be sure to scoop loosen flour into measurement cup (make a heap), then scrap off the extras with the back of a knife.
- Cheese sugar topping: I baked 25 minutes but tips of pai pau are still pale so I baked for another 2 minutes, but the cheese sprinkles become too brown. So it’s better to stick with 25-26 minutes, or apply egg wash and the toppings half way through baking?…
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Posted in Dip - Dungeness Crab Dip, Salad, Dressing, Dip & Sauce, tagged appetizer, dip, Dungeness crab, Dungeness Crab Dip, garlic crostini, Italian five cheese mix, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, party food on April 21, 2012|
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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
Crab Dip Recipe (please note this is for a large portion enough for a party appetizer, but you can scale down for smaller serving)
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
- 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.
- 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:
4 torta sandwich rolls (I bought from Costco)– slice into 1/2 inch thin
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
- 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.
- Remove from the oven, and rub garlic on each side of crostini.
- 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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Ham and Cheese Rolls
Ham and Cheese Rolls Recipe (makes 18 rolls, 9x13x2 glass pan)
2 1/4 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp dry milk powder
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dry yeast
125- 150 ml warm water
2 1/2 tbsp butter
3-4 pieces of sandwich ham– cut into thin strips
5 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
1 egg– beaten, for glaze
- In the mixing bowl mix well the first 5 ingredients then add in egg. With dough hook attached and starts kneading, slowing add water to form a dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Drop in butter and continue to knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to the bowl and pass the “membrane” test. (pull a small piece of the dough, use two hand to stretch the dough to a very thin layer– if the layer doesn’t tear then the dough is ready to proof. Otherwise, continue kneading until it passes the test).
- Transfer the dough to a big bowl. Wrap the bowl and leave it on a warm spot to rest/proof until double in size. (To speed up the resting time a little you can sit the bowl on a moist hot towel, or sit the bowl on top of a pot of hot water).
- Lightly knead the dough on a board a few times to punch out big air pockets trapped inside. Roll out to a 9×13 inch rectangle of 1/2 inch thickness. Spread shredded cheese evenly (be sure to cover the edges too), followed ham strips. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll/Swiss roll. Pinch to seal the edge. Cut rolls into 18 even pieces. Place each piece (cut side up) on greased glass pan, leaving a little space between each. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight (see note below).
- Let the chilled dough sit in room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 375°F. Apply egg wash on the top of the rolls and bake in preheated 375°f oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.
- Dough resting time: for 2nd resting time, 45 minutes to 1 hour is adequate. But I found resting the dough in the fridge overnight yields a much fluffier texture to the buns.
Ham and Cheese Rolls-- ready to roll up.
Ham and Cheese Rolls-- ready for second dough resting.
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