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At his dinner parties in Harlem, chef and cookbook author Alexander Smalls pairs creamy, slightly spicy, fresh deviled crab with tender corn muffins, barely sweetened with brown sugar and studded with corn kernels, for a quick one-bite appetizer. Choose fresh crab over pasteurized for the best flavor.

October 2020


Credit: Kelly Marshall

Recipe Summary

20 mins
35 mins




Make the deviled crab
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Stir together crabmeat, panko, scallions, mayonnaise, jalapeño, paprika, salt, celery seeds, and cayenne in a small bowl until crabmeat breaks apart into shreds and mixture is evenly combined. Set aside.

Make the muffins
  • Whisk together cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, coriander, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and oil in a small bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to cornmeal mixture; whisk until smooth. Stir in corn kernels. Lightly grease (with cooking spray) a 24-cup miniature muffin pan. Divide cornmeal mixture evenly among muffin cups (about 1 tablespoon each). Spoon about 1 1/4 teaspoons deviled crab in center of batter in each cup. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes.

  • Carefully remove muffins from pan, and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, and serve warm.

Make Ahead

Deviled crab mixture can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. Muffins can be baked up to 2 hours ahead and reheated in a 200°F oven until just warm, 3 to 5 minutes.

Suggested Pairing

Lively, lemony white.