- 6- crab shells
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup evoo
- ¼ cup celery chopped
- ¼ cup onion chopped
- ¼ cup scallions chopped
- ¼ cup carrots chopped
- ¼ cup roasted red peppers chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- ¼ cup white wine
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ loaf of Italian bread, soaked in cold water then drained until semi dry
- 1 cup parmesan cheese ground
- 1 pound lump or back fin crab meat (two names for the same thing)
Here is the trick. If you only plan to make the crab shells stuffed and you have to buy 6 hard shell crabs to get them, what do you do with the body that you don’t use? I simply clean, cook, bag and freeze anything I don’t have an immediate use for to be used in the future. The crab bodies can be used in Crab soup, crab stock or you can just crack ‘em and eat ‘em. Never throw anything away!
If you buy crabs at a full service fish counter, you can have them clean the crabs and give back the shells. Boil both the bodies and shells in about 1 quart of water with a little salt and pepper in it. When the shells turn bright red, they are ready. Put on a baking tray that is covered with aluminum foil and put to the side.
In a hot pan, put your oil, butter garlic, celery, onion, scallions, carrots and roasted red peppers. Allow to cook down and season with salt and pepper, cayenne, Cajun seasoning and red pepper. When the onions are clear add the wine. Allow to cook for 2 or 3 minutes and then put to the side to allow to cool a little. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add your cooled vegetable mix and ½ a loaf of Italian bread that has been soaked in cold water and drained in a strainer. Squeeze out all of the excess water and then mix into vegetable mix. Add your crab meat and mix. If the vegetable mix is cool, you won’t have problems with the next step. Add your cheese to the mixture and combine the ingredients. If it is hot, the cheese will stick to the bowl, the spoon and everything else. Either way, it’s alright. I just wanted to warn you. Take the crab mixture and stuff the cooked and cooled shells. Let me rephrase that. Over stuff the cooked and cooled crab shells. Use the spoon like an ice cream scoop and shovel it into the shell and pile it high. Smooth the crab mix out with the spoon and then place on your foil lined baking tray. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top of each crab shell and then top with a little pinch of paprika. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. When you take them out of the oven they should be a little browned. At least that’s how I like them.
If you have extra crab mix and you feel creative, you can form a shell on the cooked body of the crab with the crab mixture. You can over stuff the body and top with the shell or leave the shell off. I like the shell off if I do this because you can’t brown the cheese properly. You can use the shell for decoration, almost like a hat cocked to the side of the crab. It’s all in presentation, baby. I like to use this as an appetizer or on a buffet table. If you use the shell only you can easily eat it standing up at a party from a paper plate without spilling it on the floor.