Crab Imperial – Helen Krafsur – 6 servings


1 pound lump crabmeat, bits of shell and cartilage removed
2 slices firm-textured white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons curly parsley leaves, rinsed and wrung dry in paper toweling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch ground hot red pepper (cayenne)
2/3 cup mayonnaise (use light, if you like)
1 tsp. lemon zest or to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. old bay
several dashes Crystal hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, * about a 1/4 cup of less of chopped red pepper, celery and shallot (not a lot, and added to the mini processor at the same time as the mustard).

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly coat 6 large scallop shells with nonstick cooking spray or, if you prefer, lightly coat a 6-cup au gratin pan or shallow casserole; set aside. Place the crab in a medium-size mixing bowl and set aside also. I used an au gratin pan, much easier.

2. Tear the bread into small chunks, letting them drop into a mini food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Using 3 to 4 brisk pulses, reduce to moderately coarse crumbs. Drizzle the melted butter over all and pulse 2 to 3 times to incorporate. The crumbs should now be moderately fine. Tip onto a piece of wax paper and reserve.

3. Add the parsley, salt, black pepper, and cayenne to the processor (no need to wash the bowl or blade), and pulse briskly 3 to 5 times until the parsley is coarsely chopped.

4. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, crystal old bay, and both mustards and churn until smooth, about 5 seconds. Scoop on top of the crab and toss lightly to mix.

5. Mound the crab mixture in the scallop shells or spread evenly in the au gratin dish, and scatter the buttered crumbs on top.

6. Bake uncovered on the middle oven rack until bubbling and touched with brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

7. Serve at once, accompanying with a tartly dressed salad of greens. Roasted asparagus spears also make a delicious accompaniment.

You can spice it up or not as you like, but it is so much easier than doing crab cakes for more than two.