Creamy Crab Dip with a Kick
This creamy crab dip is different than other crab dips out there. It has plenty of fresh crab in it, and that’s the star of the dish, but it also has a complexity and layers of flavors from a variety of freshly roasted peppers. I used a blend that ranges from mild to medium hot to get the most in terms of different flavors and colors. I think it should have a building heat that doesn’t overpower the crab itself. But feel free to change it up and use any peppers that you like. And if you are into the really hot ones then by all means….go for it. If cooking for a crowd I’d stick with the ones recommended here which includes Pasilla or Poblano pepper, Jalapeno pepper, Serrano, and even a good old Bell Pepper. Just look and see what it is available to you in your grocery store and pick a variety of colors. On the medium-hot peppers (serrano) just use one and on the medium peppers (Jalapeno)use two. That amount of spice, along with the creamy ingredients and more mild peppers will give you a finished dip that is on the medium side. Remember that roasting the peppers first and removing the seeds and membranes also mellows the heat.
So back to the good part…the crab. I really like to use lump crab meat for this when I can. The better the crab the better the dip. It’s that simple. To get best consistency and even distribution of flavors I mix the softened cream cheese and the mayonnaise together in a medium bowl and then add the dry spices and the Tabasco and lemon juice and zest. This is the base of the dip so you really want to get the ingredients mixed together well. Then I use a rubber spatula to fold in the grated Parmesan cheese and then gently fold in the peppers (diced), and finally the crab.The reason the crab goes last is because you don’t want to over mix it and break it up. You want to dig into it and get those nice big clumps of crab meat. Oh my…I’m getting hungry again. I hope there’s some Creamy Crab Dip left.
- 1 Passila pepper
- 2 Jalapeno peppers (1 red and 1 green if you can find a red one)
- 1 Serrano pepper
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper
- 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 8-10 dashes Tabasco
- zest and juice 1 small lemon
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz fresh lump crab meat
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Cut the peppers in half, so they can lie flat, and remove seeds and stems. Place them skin side up on a roasting pan and place them about 6 inches from the broiler. You want the skin to get bubbly and blackened. They will cook at different times so watch them carefully. The bell pepper has the thickest skin and will probably take the longest.
- Remove from oven and immediately place in a glass dish and cover with platic wrap or a lid. This will steam off the rest of the skin and make it easy to peel once they are cooled. This step can be done a day in advance.
- Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl combine the softened cream cheese and mayo with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, lemon juice and zest and Tabasco. Mix well to combine and add in the Parmesan cheese.
- Chop the peppers into desired sizes and fold in with a rubber spatula. Fold in the lump crab.
- Rub a medium baking dish with unsalted butter. Evenly distribute the crab dip mixture and top with Panko breadcrumbs and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes and then place under the broiler for 30 seconds or until top is golden brown. Be careful not to burn it. Serve warm with crusty bread or crostini.