Turn those freezer fillers into a warm winter treat.
The fall season brings some of the best blue claw crabbing of the year to New Jersey. As the water temperatures drop, the crabs prepare for their winter hibernation. They eat to bulk up for their long sleep. This means fall crabs are the meatiest of the year. In our house we load up and vacuum seal a few pounds of meat in the freezer for the winter.
The shallower waters cool first, so the crabs head to deeper water where they burrow into the mud until the spring. Savvy crabbers work these deeper waters using handlines and collapsible traps or placing commercial style pots on the bottom for 24-hour soaks.
While most of our regional crabbing options are quickly coming to a close, you may have enjoyed a stellar season on blue claws in 2020. Although picking a bunch of crabs for a pound of fresh meat may seem daunting, the recipe for crab dip below makes the effort worthwhile. While fresh-picked meat produces the tastiest results, frozen crab meat is also delicious.
This dish is always a favorite at our family Christmas get-togethers.
1 pound crabmeat 8-ounce bar cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 minced green onions 1/2 teaspoon dill
1 minced medium onion 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
Pick through the crabmeat and remove any shells. Soften the cream cheese and blend with the mayonnaise using a fork until all one consistency. Add all ingredients except crabmeat and blend thoroughly.
Fold in the crab and transfer to an ovenproof serving dish. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees until bubbly and starting to turn light brown on top, about 30 minutes. Serves 6-8 as an appetizer along with a selection of your favorite crackers.