Lemony Crab Dip

lemony crab dip

For everyday dining, I don’t usually serve an appetizer.  But for guests and parties and special occasions, I’ll trot out a few to keep everybody happy.  They are nice to nibble on while the main attraction finishes cooking, with a cocktail or a glass of bubbly in hand, and no one goes hungry before the meal is served.

This crab dip is versatile and great any time of the year, although in winter, the light, citrusy note is particularly welcome as a contrast to heartier cold-weather dishes.  A light hand with the mayonnaise ensures that the flavor of the crab shines through.  You can heap the dip in a bowl and surround it with a platter of accompaniments, or serve it in small individual bowls, with baskets of crackers, bread and raw vegetables on the side.

This dip travels really well – you can make it up to a few days before, it packs up quickly to take on the road, and no cutlery is necessary (although a knife for spreading is nice). For a fun twist, pre-cut your bread into shapes, add a few leaves of watercress, and turn the dip into crab sandwiches.  With the addition of a few other small bites, these little nibbles make the perfect picnic.

lemony crab dip picnic pack

Lemony Crab Dip
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer.  Adapted from Coastal Living, here.

2 1/2 cups fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and gently flaked
1 cup finely chopped shallot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
kosher salt, to taste
scant 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a large bowl, combine first eight ingredients and toss well.  Add in mayonnaise and stir until fully incorporated.  Top with chopped parsley and refrigerate in a covered container for at least two hours.  Dip will keep for up to three days, refrigerated.

Serve with baguette slices, crackers and assorted raw vegetables.

Deviled Eggs

This is it.

This is the recipe that gets me an invite to whatever party is going on out there.

I’ve made these deviled eggs dozens upon dozens of times, and for nearly every occasion imaginable – picnics, poolside barbecues, cocktail parties, bridal showers, birthdays, brunches.  These little guys are are versatile, and oft-requested.  Don’t expect a single one to be left standing.

My mom made them for us growing up (thanks, Mom!), and I’ve tweaked the recipe, but not much.  I use kosher salt, for the softer flavor, freshly ground pepper, and added paprika to the filling instead of just a dusting on the tops of the filled eggs.  To pipe in the filling, I use an icing/cookie dough gun fitted with a large star tip, which works great with the thick, slightly chunky consistency of the deviled mixture.  If you don’t have one, you can use a pastry bag instead, or just mound the filling in the egg halves with a teaspoon and give it a little swirl on the top.

You’ll note that this recipe calls for good quality thousand island dressing.  I’ve yet to find a thousand island recipe that justifies spending the extra time to make it myself, but I haven’t given up looking.  If you are lucky enough to have one, by all means use in place of the store-bought dressing (and please, please send it my way).



Deviled Eggs

10 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
4 tablespoons good quality thousand island dressing
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
paprika and freshly ground pepper, for dusting

Slice the hard-boiled eggs in half, removing the yolks and setting aside sixteen of the white halves.  Reserve the extra four white halves for another use.

In a medium bowl, lightly mash the yolks using the back of a fork, until all the large pieces are broken up.  The yolks should have a small, coarse texture similar to cookie crumbs. Add the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika and thousand island dressing and mix well.  Then, add the mayonnaise and whip with a fork until fully incorporated and fluffy. Spoon the mixture into a cookie dough gun or a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.

Arrange the white egg halves on a platter, and pipe each egg with about one mounded tablespoon of filling.  Dust with paprika and freshly ground pepper, to taste.  Carefully cover and refrigerate eggs for at least two hours prior to serving.

Keeps for up to three days in the fridge.

Note:   I’m often transporting these.  If you’re planning on that, I highly recommend investing in one of those plastic deviled egg carriers.  They really do keep the eggs fresh, cold, and pretty ( no crushed peaks!) while you are storing them in the fridge or cooler.