It's like a crab boil in casserole form, and I'm eating it all summer.

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Crab Hot Dish
Credit: Photo by Will Dickey / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey

In the hottest stretches of summer, when even toasting bread feels a bit too strenuous, I gravitate towards no-cook recipes. Not only are they generally easier to make, but they avoid heating up your kitchen, too. And yet, somehow, the best dish I made this summer was a hot, heavy casserole: Hot Crab Dish.

Despite being a rich, steaming-hot, tater tot-covered platter, the recipe somehow still feels summer-y. Inspired by the flavors of a crab boil, with lots of Old Bay seasoning, the dish transcends seasons and exudes comfort, something I desperately needed and that a salad wasn't going to give me. Given that there was already a giant bag of frozen tater tots clogging my New York City freezer, I decided to whip it up, kitchen temperature be damned.

Get the Recipe: Hot Crab Dish

Yes, I sweat quite a bit, but it was worth it. This dish is the best thing I've made this summer, and it went over very well served as crab dip at an outdoor gathering. It's truly packed with crab, and works wonderfully as a room-temp dip or hot casserole entrée. (Plus, it's not even in the oven that long, so your kitchen will return to its normal temperature in no time.)

I made it even spicier with extra hot sauce and covered it in farmers' market chives. I don't think I'll make it to a crab boil this summer, but thanks to this dish, I can recreate those vibes whenever I want.