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December 23, 2014

Ask the Chef: Crab Dip

Crab dip blogLast week Blanche in Charlotte, N.C., wrote to us asking for a spinach crab dip recipe. We asked our team of chefs and received two right away! Since this is a popular party dish, we thought we'd share them both with our readers.

The first is from Chef Lonnie Varisco in Houma, La.. He says, "In New Orleans seafood is king. This is a great twist on the classic spinach and artichoke dip. Using crab boil in the recipe provides that classic boiled seafood taste everyone loves down here."

Crab, Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Yield: 2 quarts

Ingredients:
2 cups thawed, chopped frozen spinach
11/2 cups chopped artichoke hearts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pound lump crabmeat
2 1/2  cups heavy cream
½ tsp. liquid crab boil
6 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsps. fresh tarragon (minced)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic minced

Method:  Thaw spinach then squeeze out excess moisture.  In a sauce pan, add oil over medium-high heat.  Now add spinach, artichoke hearts, red pepper flakes, salt and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add heavy cream and crab boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Whisk in cream cheese allowing it to melt.  Add parmesan cheese, tarragon, and crabmeat folding in gently. Serve.

Note:  Product will last for 7 days under refrigeration. Add more heavy cream if you prefer a thinner dip.

Chef Ron Warner from Lebanon, Tenn., has a rich, creamy, cheesy crab dip variation that has our mouths watering. The base is béchamel sauce, which is a classic, creamy white sauce made by whisking together butter, flour, milk, salt and pepper.

Crab and Spinach Dip
Yield: About 3 quarts

Ingredients:
8 cups béchamel sauce
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsps. cayenne pepper, divided
2 Tbsps. seasoning salt
1 onion, chopped
2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
2 pounds cheddar cheese, shredded
4 cups drained canned or frozen spinach
1 cup crab meat

Method: In a large saucepan, melt together the Bechamel sauce, cream cheese, cayenne pepper, salt, onion, Parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese. Stir in the spinach and the crab. Cool the mixture and portion into microwaveable bowls. Microwave on high (to order) until the mixture is warm and bubbling. Serve with chips for dipping and garnish with Parmesan cheese and warm, chopped crab.

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