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Crab Imperial topped with Gruyere

The Baltimore Sun

Martha Nielson of Trenton, N.J., was hoping someone would have the recipe for a Crab Imperial dish similar to the one she and her husband used to enjoy on their trips to Maryland. It was served at Busch's restaurant in Cape St. Claire. The restaurant closed several years ago and though she has tried many recipes for Crab Imperial, none has come close to the light and fluffy one with a cheesy topping that was served at Busch's.

Unfortunately, we did not receive any responses from our readers for a Crab Imperial with a cheese topping. A search on the Internet turned up countless traditional recipes but only a handful had any kind of cheese topping.

I tested a recipe I found on submitted by Doreen Buch for a rich and creamy version of this traditional favorite. The only change I made was to not precook the crab meat as the recipe instructed but rather to mix the fresh crab meat in with the other ingredients and bake it all together. This increased the cooking time to about 20 minutes. The result was a dish luscious enough for the most elegant dinner party.

Excellent Crab Imperial

Serves 6

1 cup dry sherry

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

6 fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 pimento, chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 pound cooked crab meat, flaked

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease six 1/2 -cup baking dishes. Bring sherry to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in shallots, green pepper, mushrooms and pimento. Over medium heat, cook, stirring occasionally, until only a small amount of liquid remains.

In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the heavy cream and the egg yolk for about 3 minutes. Stir into shallot mixture. Mix in dry mustard. Remove mixture from heat and gently stir in crab meat. Cool, stir in mayonnaise, then scoop into prepared dishes. Top with cheese. Bake 10 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Per serving: 487 calories, 22 grams protein, 41 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 170 milligrams cholesterol, 539 milligrams sodium


Kathi Schweitzer of Lutherville wants a good recipe for gazpacho made with fresh tomatoes.

If you are looking for a hard-to-find recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or e-mail If you send more than one recipe, put each on a separate piece of paper or attachment with your name, address and daytime phone number. Names and addresses must accompany recipes to be published. Letters may be edited for clarity.

The nutritional analyses accompanying recipes in today's Taste section were calculated by registered dietitian Jodie Shield, except where noted.

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