Maryland Crab Imperial With Buttery Golden Bread Crumbs Recipe

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Crab imperial is everything Maryland crab cakes aren’t, in the best possible way. It’s loaded with seasonings, like Old Bay, lemon, and mustard; has a delightfully creamy consistency; and sports a crispy, crunchy topping of golden buttered bread crumbs. It won’t hold its shape as a crab cake, but it doesn’t need to—and it’s much easier to make.

Why It Works

  • A flavorful mayonnaise-based mixture binds tender pieces of crabmeat for a luxurious dip.
  • Tossing the bread crumbs with melted butter makes them brown more beautifully and improves their flavor.
  • Yield:Serves 4 to 6 as a snack or appetizer
  • Active time:15 minutes
  • Total time:40 minutes
  • Rated:5
  • Ingredients

    • 1 pound (450g) special or lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
    • 1/2 cup (120ml) mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Dijon mustard
    • 2 teaspoons (10ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon, plus grated zest of half a lemon
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
    • 1 small shallot, finely minced (about 2 tablespoons)
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (1 ounce; 30g)
    • 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
    • Baguette toasts, saltines, or other crackers, for serving (optional)


    1. 1.

      Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). In a medium bowl, stir together crabmeat, mayonnaise, Dijon, lemon juice and zest, parsley, Old Bay, and shallot until evenly incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

    2. 2.

      In a small bowl, stir bread crumbs with melted butter until evenly coated. Season with salt.

    3. 3.

      Pack crab mixture in a 1-quart baking or gratin dish, then layer buttered bread crumbs evenly on top. Set on top of a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crab mixture is heated through and bread crumbs are golden, about 20 minutes. Serve with toasts or crackers, if desired.

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