Crab Mac

By • September 25, 2012 • 5 Comments

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Author Notes: The ultimate comfort food to take off the chill of an autumn evening, this dish is a “souped-up” version of a classic Maryland Crab Imperial, made all the more satisfying (read: decadent) with the addition of pasta, Fontina and prosciutto. Unlike Mac-n’-Cheese with cheddar, the base of the recipe is lighter in flavor: a Béchamel sauce -- the “mother sauce" of French cuisine. Sweat finely diced shallots in butter, add equal parts of flour to make a roux, then add warm milk (half and half) a touch of nutmeg and sherry and you’re on your way to serious yum! Vivian Henoch

Food52 Review: This is a new fall standard for guests. I was initially skeptical, as I thought the mac and cheese would overwhelm the delicacy of the crab. However, Vivian Henoch has developed a subtle mac and cheese laced with nutmeg and sherry which complements the crab perfectly. For those of you who don’t eat red meat, good news: adding the prosciutto, while a nice finishing touch, can be totally optional.minipanda

Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup half-n-half (or milk)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Fontina cheese, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon sherry (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound crabmeat, preferably Maryland backfin
  • 1 pound macaroni, or pasta of choice
  • 3 slices prosciutto
  • 3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. To make the béchamel: melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and when melted, sweat the shallots. Stir in the flour and gently heat, stirring continuously until the paste cooks and bubbles, 1-2 minutes. Add the half-and-half and stir for 2-3 more minutes.
  3. To béchamel add fontina cheese, nutmeg, sherry, salt and pepper. Add chicken stock. Sauce should be velvety smooth.
  4. Prepare pasta to al dente. Stir sauce into cooked pasta, and add crabmeat. Sprinkle with finely sliced prosciutto, top with panko bread crumbs and heat in oven until bubbling and top is golden brown.
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9 months ago JenJack

Can you sub other cheeses for the fontina? Like goat cheese, feta or/and cream cheese? This sounds fantastic, but I don't have any fontina.

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about 2 years ago Muse

This sounds decadent...can't wait to try it!

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about 2 years ago Vivian Henoch

Yes! on both counts. Thank you for the correction.

Looks like I forgot to mention the baking-step. Yes, place in baking pan, and In a preheated oven - 350, cook until bubbly.

Like Mac-n-cheese, ya bake it.

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about 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You move the whole thing to a baking dish, correct? Sounds dangerously delicious

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about 2 years ago Vivian Henoch

Aargersi, thank you for your careful reading, and correction! Right, on both counts. Looks like I forget to add the baking step.

Yes, you place the sauced-up pasta and crab in a baking dish.

In a pre-heated oven set to 350, you bake until bubbling, and the top is golden brown.
And yes, the recipe is dangerously delicious.