Appetizers & Snacks | Recipes

Crabmeat au Gratin

Written by Danielle Oteri

My family tries to maintain the Neapolitan tradition of the “feast of the seven fishes.” Usually there is spaghetti vongole, fried smelts, calamari, and zuppe di pesce.

Stuffed lobster tails hearken back to the days when my grandmother would prepare this massive meal all by herself, and this year I very much wanted to make them as a gift to my family.

My thinking was this: lobster goes for about $10-$12 per pound, so the tails would likely run me between $5-$8 each.

Sound thinking, right? WRONG.

Lobster tails, frozen mind you, go for $18 per pound uptown, $28 a pound downtown. The nerve!

As Casey surmised, lobster tails are like beef tenderloins. People will always buy them so the retailers can get away with jacking up the price.

I decided that I could not afford to feed lobster tails to 10 hungry Italians.

Plan B was crab, and since it had to travel to my aunt’s house up the Hudson, I decided to do crabmeat au gratin.

I read about 20 different recipes for gratin over the course of Christmas Eve, including Julia Child’s, but given my notorious inability to follow directions, I ended up improvising.

The result… Fantastic! Delicious! A Christmas miracle! I surprised myself. God bless us, every one!

Fortunately, I wrote down exactly what I did.

This crabmeat au gratin dish was so wonderful, so rich, so impressive, and so ridiculously easy to make that I highly recommend it for your next dinner party. Seriously, this is foolproof.

Crabmeat au Gratin

Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Crabmeat au gratin is a rich tasting and looking, but affordable, party appetizer when lobster tails are just too damn pricey.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds frozen crab claw meat
  • 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled + 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons uncooked rice
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the crabmeat, parsley, cream, egg, 4 tablespoons melted butter, flour, and rice together in a large bowl.
  3. Spread the mixture in a casserole or gratin dish.
  4. Sprinkle evenly with the panko and dot generously with the remaining butter.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

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