- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon dry vermouth
- 3/4 cup cream cheese (6 ounces), softened
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons minced chives
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
- Salt and cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over to remove any bits of shell
- 2/3 cup coarse dry bread crumbs
- Pita chips or toasted baguette slices
- In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until just beginning to brown, 4 minutes. Add the vermouth and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, mustard, chives and tarragon. Season lightly with salt and cayenne and scrape into a large bowl. Stir in the crabmeat, breaking it up slightly with a spoon. Spread the crab dip in a shallow baking dish or 12 shallow ramekins.
- Preheat the broiler. Position a rack 10 inches from the heat. In a small glass bowl, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a microwave on high heat. Stir in the bread crumbs and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle the crumbs over the crab dip and broil until the dip is heated through and the topping is golden, about 2 minutes; shift the baking dish for even browning. Serve warm with pita chips or toasted baguette slices.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight. Return to room temperature before broiling.
A ripe but crisp Riesling will highlight the sweet crab and have enough body to complement the cream cheese. Look for an American example. Alternatively, pick a bright, light sparkling wine from Oregon to contrast with the dip's creamy texture.