There are a variety of ways to enjoy crab — in sandwiches, soups, salads, pasta, and more. Though most of us think of the seafood as something you eat when it’s time to lighten up a bit, it can just as easily work for some seriously hearty dishes. When you have a huge appetite don’t feel like having chicken yet again, try these substantial crab recipes instead.
1. Corn and Crab Chowder
When you’re in the mood to treat yourself, try this rich crab chowder from Southern Living. It’s chock full of hearty ingredients, including bacon, crab, peppers, onions, and corn. The end result is well worth the labor of love, and is perfect for cold winter nights. Though the recipe calls for fresh corn, frozen kernels will work just as well.
- 6 bacon slices
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 medium-size green bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels
- 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, drained and picked
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Oyster crackers
- Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro
Directions: Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons of drippings in Dutch oven. Crumble bacon.
Sauté celery and next three ingredients in hot drippings for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender.
Whisk together broth and flour until smooth. Add to celery mixture. Stir in corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Gently stir in crabmeat and next four ingredients; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve warm with crumbled bacon and oyster crackers.
2. Crab Melt Sandwiches
When you’re sick of the standard tuna melt, try this crab upgrade from Food Network. You’ll start by making a quick crab salad. After that, all you need to do is toast your bread, spoon on the crab mixture, top with Parmesan cheese, then broil until everything gets nice and bubbly. You’re going to love these sophisticated sandwiches.
- 1 pound fresh lump crab meat, picked over
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Creole mustard
- 4 (1-inch-thick) slices brioche
- Unsalted butter, softened, if desired
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- Accompaniment: lime wedges
- Garnish: chopped fresh chives
Directions: Preheat broiler. Put lump crab meat in a bowl but do not shred. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and toss to combine.
In a small bowl whisk together remaining tablespoon lime juice, mayonnaise, and mustard until smooth. Pour sauce over crab and toss to coat. Season crab mixture with salt and pepper and chill, covered, 30 minutes.
Lightly toast brioche and with a 3¼-inch round cutter cut out rounds. Lightly butter toast. Spoon one fourth crab mixture into a 1/2-cup measure. Holding a toast round on top of mixture in measure, invert crab onto round and set on an un-greased baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining crab mixture and rounds and sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan over each sandwich. Broil sandwiches about 3 inches from heat until cheese is melted and golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve sandwiches with lime wedges and garnish with chives.
3. Spicy Crab Pasta
If you prefer your pasta recipes on the spicy side, try this crab pasta from Allrecipes.com. You can vary the amount of chile flake based on how much you like the heat, so feel free to play around. You may never make a basic meat sauce again.
- 1 package dry farfalle pasta
- ½ cup butter
- 1 can crabmeat, drained and flaked
- 1 can peeled and diced tomatoes, drained
- 1½ tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente, then drain.
Melt the butter in a separate pot. Mix in crab and tomatoes. Season with red pepper, garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir 10 for minutes. Toss with cooked pasta, then serve.
4. Shrimp & Crab Pizza
Have you ever had crab pizza? If not, you’re in for a treat. This recipe from Taste of Home yields a shrimp and crab pizza that’s light on sauce and heavy on seafood. It serves 6 and only takes 30 minutes to make thanks to a pre-baked crust and jarred sauce. Instead of relying on the tried-and-true pepperoni and cheese pizza, change things up and go for shrimp and crab pizza.
- ½ pound uncooked shrimp (61 to 70 per pound), peeled and deveined
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1¾ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small sweet red pepper, cut into strips
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups coarsely chopped crab meat
- 1 pre-baked 12-inch pizza crust
- ⅓ cup Alfredo sauce
- 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, combine shrimp, water and lemon juice. Let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion and pepper; cook and stir 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and salt; cook 1 minute longer.
Drain shrimp, discarding liquid. Add shrimp and crab to pan; cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until shrimp turn pink.
Place crust on an ungreased 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet; spread with Alfredo sauce. Spoon shrimp mixture over sauce; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.
5. Crab Cake Mac n’ Cheese
Both crab cakes and macaroni and cheese are favorites and, unsurprisingly, they’re even better together. This recipe from Food Network serves 4 to 6, but you should double it if you want leftovers. And you will once you get a taste of this comforting dish. Just add a side salad to round out your meal.
- 1 pound cavatappi or elbow pasta with lines on conchiglie
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- ½ small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- About 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves, several sprigs
- About 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ pound fresh lump crab meat, picked for shells and flaked
- 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ⅓ pound sharp white cheddar, grated
- ⅓ pound Gruyère or Swiss cheese, grated
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- A generous handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat, then salt the water. Add the pasta and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Cool, drain well and add it to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, red pepper, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper, to taste. Cook to tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the crab meat to the vegetables and season liberally with seafood seasoning. Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
In a medium sauce pot, over low heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk and bring to a bubble. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste, and cook for a few minutes, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Add the mustard and the cheese and stir in a figure eight motion. Add the vegetables and crab, sauce to the bowl with the pasta and transfer the mixture to individual baking crocks or a large casserole dish. This can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. To complete the dish, melt a couple of tablespoons butter in a small skillet, over low heat and add 3 tablespoons hot sauce. Warm through, then add the panko and toss to evenly coat the crumbs in sauce mixture. Cool the crumbs, then toss in the parsley and ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Top the mac and cheese with the spicy crumb mixture.
Arrange individual crocks on a baking sheet or put the casserole on baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake until brown and heated through, about 10 minutes. Let cool briefly, then serve.