Sunday, April 26, 2009

Delaware Crab Casserole

My daughter has a daughter now and I thought she might enjoy some pictures from her childhood. We recently bought a scanner and we are using it and our
"infant" photo editing skills to digitally store our photographs.

We moved to Delaware when my daughter was six weeks old and left when she was six months old - a very brief sojourn on the East Atlantic coast. I grew up in the cornfields of the Midwest, in a town filled with Italianate and Neo-gothic style homes and buildings, split by a mighty river and surrounded by caves and bluffs carved out by great glaciers. The East coast with its Federalist and Cape Cod style homes and sense of history and refinement was a change.  A fishmonger stopped in front of our house with fresh fish daily. We lived thirty minutes from the ocean and one hour from our nation's capitol; we alternated weekends between the two. Fortunately, with one young baby it was easy to live so freely. We frolicked in the ocean and ate crab on those "ocean" weekends. This recipe is from my mother-in-law; she was an excellent cook. I am sorry to say that I only made it once. I had no idea my stay would be so brief and fresh fish daily was not something available inland at that time. I have wonderful memories of eating every sort of crab dish at well-known tourist attractions to small family owned restaurants. Fresh crab meat is a must for this recipe. Substitute and add seasonings as desired, however fresh crab meat, nearly unadorned, is delicious.

Delaware Crab Casserole
Serves 6

1 pound fresh crab meat (all shell and cartilage removed)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

Saute celery and green pepper in butter until tender. Blend in flour. Add milk gradually and cook until thick, stirring continuously. Stir a small amount of this hot mixture into the egg yolk. Add the warmed egg yolk mixture to the sauce, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice, seasonings and crab meat. Place the crab meat mixture into a lightly buttered casserole dish. Combine the 1 tablespoon melted butter and bread crumbs; sprinkle over the casserole. Bake at 350ยบ F. for 20 to 25 minutes, until brown.

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