Alaska Snow Crab Imperial
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/4 tsp mild chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 each yellow onion, medium diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 each red bell pepper, medium diced
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp Pernod
- 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs, tightly packed and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup tightly packed Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 6 oz
- 1 cup 1 cup Béchamel (recipe follows)
- fresh dill sprigs, for garnish
- º Béchamel (Makes 1 cup)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Recipe by Chef Vitaly Paley
"The tender sweet crab is perfect for this dish as it keeps together during cooking then gently, as if on cue, melts in your mouth. While seasoned breadcrumbs and fresh green herbs provide complexity and crunch, rich béchamel adds luxurious and velvety texture. Serve this dip with your favorite crackers, toasted baguette, chips or all of the above." - Chef Paley
For the Béchamel
Set a small pot over medium heat and add butter. Once butter has melted, whisk in flour, reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent browning. Slowly pour in milk whisking vigorously, increase heat to medium and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Continue cooking on low heat, whisking frequently until the sauce is thick and smooth, and has no raw flour flavor, about 10 minutes. Transfer béchamel to a small bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper against the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside until ready to use.
You can also cover tightly and refrigerate for up to three days.
For the Imperial
Mix the breadcrumbs with Parmigiano Reggiano, Espelette pepper and half of the fennel pollen then set aside. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
Set a heavy bottom sauté pan over a medium flame and heat the olive oil for about 1 minute. Add onions, garlic, red pepper and cook, stirring gently, until soft with no coloration, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Mix in cayenne and remaining fennel pollen.
To prevent from igniting, turn the heat off and stir in Pernod and lemon juice. Turn the heat back on to medium to reduce all the liquid, about 1 more minute. Transfer all the contents of the sauté pan into a mixing bowl and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Stir in chopped dill, parsley and picked crab. Gently fold in béchamel then transfer it all into a 7" round or oval casserole dish that holds approximately 3 cups by volume. Top evenly with bread crumb mixture and bake until the crab dip starts to bubble around the perimeter of the dish and crumbs are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Garnish with remaining dill sprigs and serve immediately.
For individual portions, split the crab mixture evenly between 4, four-ounce ceramic ramekins.
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