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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Mister Crab–or in French, Crabe Monsieur

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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Translation: “mister crab”

 

If you’re looking for a tasty simple-to-prepare summertime meal with a fancy French name, this recipe’s for you.

 

I’ve been lucky to spend some time in Paris (France, not Texas or Tennessee!), where simple and tasty croques monsieur are the focus of lunch at almost any street side café. Simple, and usually served with a lightly dressed salad and a glass of wine, this French take on a grilled ham and cheese sandwich can’t be beat. This version, with the addition of crabmeat takes it to yet another level.

 

Mister Crab (serves 6)

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6-thick slices of crusty sourdough bread

Unsalted butter

1/2-pound shredded gruyere (not “Swiss”) cheese

6-thin slices prosciutto (not “boiled”) ham

2 cups whole (not “skim”) milk

1/2 –cup crème fraiche or heavy cream

2-tbs. all-purpose flour

pinch salt and pepper

1-pound cooked lump (not “claw”) crabmeat

pinch sweet paprika

pinch cayenne pepper

pinch dried tarragon

zest of one lemon

2-tsp. chopped chives (half for garnish)

1-tsp chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)

 

 

This recipe involves several steps, and the use of quality ingredients is critical. Don’t skimp on the bread, the ham, the cheese and especially the crabmeat. Like most French dishes, what goes in makes a difference!

 

First, generously butter both sides and toast the bread slices in a skillet. Second, make a béchamel sauce by constantly whisking the milk, cream/crème fraiche, salt/pepper and two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat until thick. Third, combine the crabmeat with the paprika, cayenne pepper, tarragon, lemon zest and chives and about half of the béchamel sauce. Assemble the open-faced sandwiches beginning with the ham, a generous serving of the crabmeat mix and then a layer of the shredded cheese. Finally spoon some of the reserved béchamel sauce on top and place in a hot, 425-degree, oven for about 10 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

 

To serve, sprinkle with chives and parsley and plate alongside a simple green salad. And don’t forget the wine!

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