Over the years, when it comes to celebrating the holiday season, more often than not we gather friends and family for a festive Yule meal on the shortest day of the year, winter solstice. This year we contentedly dined on a Surf and Turf dinner featuring Hot Crab Dip, Jumbo Shrimp with a Spicy Cocktail Sauce and Filet Mignon complemented with Chimichurri, Mashed Potatoes, Mushroom Gravy and Roasted Tomato Gratin. Juliette brought her homemade seeded focaccia and a beautiful braided sourdough loaf and a stellar chocolate cake accented with fresh raspberries.
I made enough crab dip to bridge from appetizer to side dish kept warm in a chafing dish. More than a few guests put a big helping of crab on top of their beef filet à la Oscar. If you are lucky enough to live where fresh crabs are readily available, you can use fresh crabmeat, picked over carefully to remove shell fragments. Living in the desert, I buy Phillips Lump Crab Meat in a 16-ouce jar and use it with great success.
I mix all the ingredients in the chafing pan and heat over a pan filled with boiling water. Once the mixture is hot, I transfer the pan to the prepared chafing dish heated by canned sterno. Alternatively, the dip can be combined ahead of time and refrigerated up to one day in advance. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
Serve with crackers, sliced baguette, or my favorite, tortilla chips. The dip is terrific washed down with a cold cocktail, white wine and champagne making it a festive addition to a New Year's Eve buffet.
Hot Crab Dip
2 8-oz packages cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tsps Worcestershire
1 tsp sea salt and a few grinds freshly cracked pepper
2 tsps Dijon mustard
a few dashes Tobasco
1 small can Hatch green chilies
1 4-oz jar diced pimientos
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, sliced into thin rounds, greens included
1 Tbsp minced parsley
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
16-ounces (1-pound) lump crabmeat, picked over for shell fragments
Lars Own All Natural Crispy Onions, optional
1. For a chafing dish: mix all the base ingredients together and desired add-ins in the chafing pan. Place the pan directly over a saucepan filled with boiling water, stirring often until hot. Gently fold in crabmeat. Heat another minute or two, stirring occasionally not to break-up crabmeat too much. When heated through, top with Crispy Onions, if desired. Place in chafing dish. Keep warm by lighting a can of sterno. Serve with sliced baguette, assorted crackers and tortilla chips.
2. In the oven: mix all the base ingredients together and desired add-ins. Gently fold in crabmeat. Transfer mixture to a buttered baking dish. Cover with onions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, or directly transfer to a preheated 350°F oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes until fragrant and just beginning to bubble around the edges. Serve immediately with sliced baguette, assorted crackers and tortilla chips.