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Warm Crab Dip with Fresh Herbs

  • TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 12
  • FAST
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 large shallot, minced
  3. 1 tablespoon dry vermouth
  4. 3/4 cup cream cheese (6 ounces), softened
  5. 1/4 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
  6. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  7. 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  8. 3 tablespoons minced chives
  9. 2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
  10. Salt and cayenne pepper
  11. 1 1/2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over to remove any bits of shell
  12. 2/3 cup coarse dry bread crumbs
  13. Pita chips or toasted baguette slices
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Make Ahead The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight. Return to room temperature before broiling.

Suggested Pairing

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.