This Crab Bake is a beautiful, ultra light casserole style dish, which will put a smile on any seafood lover’s face. The creamy, delicate and quite unusual recipe consists of the crab meat in a lusciously creamy sauce made with white crabmeat, onion and garlic, apple cider and a bit of yoghurt. All that loveliness cozies up under a layer of Parmesan-bread crumbs topping. Lightly crisped up on the top. Finger licking delight. Perfect!
I put this recipe together based on the flavour of crab bake we often have at the Guernsey Yacht Club. I never got to speak to the chef, but the waitress told me what ingredients make their crab bake so tasty. The onions can become sweetish if cooked in a certain way, but what stunned me was the apple cider in the sauce. When I thought about it, it made sense though. That gentle sweetness of the juicy and delicate crab meat is enhanced just enough by the fruity, but not overpowering, notes of the apple cider.
Crab bake? Easier then I thought! And so good!
So anyway, with this knowledge I got some fresh, hand picked crab meat from the shop at the harbour and made my first ever batch of this true treat. It is not the prettiest looking thing, but that flavour…oh, so good! My partner said that it tasted pretty much like the one at the Guernsey Yacht Club and this is a huge compliment, since I got it right with the first attempt. Oh, clever me:)
BTW, I don’t believe I’ve seen a crab bake on the menu anywhere else before. Crab pie, fish pie, etc., yes, but not the bake. Did you?
If you ever pass through Guernsey you simply must treat yourself to fresh Guernsey crab, lobster and local oysters. I’ve never had better ones than here. I know that the fresh, white, hand picked crab meat is not easy to get if you’re based deeper inland, but don’t give up and see what’s available in your local supermarket’s seafood section. It might just be your lucky day! This crab bake is so worth the hassle, my friend! This recipe will make 4 appetizer size or 2 main course servings. Enjoy!
- ½ lb (230g) fresh, white crab meat
- 1 cup red onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅔ cup (175ml) natural yoghurt (or 4 tablespoons of cream cheese or creme fraiche whisked with ⅓ cup (75ml) milk)
- 1 cup (235ml) apple cider like Magners
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- A few twists of salt and black pepper grinders
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, leaves only
- ½ lemon, juice only
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- Preheat oven to 180C (356F).
- In a wide saucepan, on medium heat, cook onions in butter and oil until translucent (about 10 minutes). Stir occasionally.
- While onions are cooking, in a bowl, whisk yoghurt, apple cider, lemon juice, salt & pepper until well combined.
- Stir in garlic to the pan with onions and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low. Now add the yoghurt sauce and parsley to the onions and stir continuously while watching the sauce becoming slightly thicker after a few minutes. Adjust the taste with salt, pepper or more lemon juice to your liking.
- Turn the heat off completely. Mix in the white crab meat to the sauce and then distribute it between 2 (for the main course) or 4 (for the starter portion size) shallow dishes.
- In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan with breadcrumbs and then sprinkle over the crab bake dishes.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, you can turn the grill on to add a bit of crisp and colour on the top of your crab bakes. Serve hot. Refrigerate for up to 48h.
Feeling like more seafood? Try these easy recipes: Honey Salmon Feta Bruschetta, Salmon with Black Garlic Glaze, Garlic Prawns Stuffed Avocado with Sweet Chilli Sauce, Sardine Fish Cakes, Fisherman’s Eggs, Bouillabaisse…