Seafood Small Bites + Sides Virginia

Chesapeake Crab Imperial

Find some sweet and savory winter comfort in this Chesapeake Bay dish that’s basically a delicious and less sticky crab cake in a dish with all my favorite flavors of Virginia and Maryland!

My job sends me back up to our old stomping grounds in Washington D.C. often enough that I get a nice taste of local flavors and dishes. But one of my favorite souvenirs of travel are those flavors – there’s nothing I love more than bringing them home with me and making them for friends, so they can get a little taste of the region, so to speak!

One of the dishes we’ve all been enjoying here lately is my Chesapeake Crab Imperial! Because if you’ve ever lived anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard, you know seafood is a major staple, and from Maryland south, we’re all about the blue crab. When you start getting into the warm shallow Atlantic waters along our coasts, the darn things are everywhere – but lucky for us, they’re delicious!

Lately we’ve been enjoying them in this Chesapeake Crab Imperial – which is basically a cross between a delicious crab cake without the filler and a crab dip with not as much sauce. In my version of this dish, we take out a lot of the fillers from both crab cakes and crab dip and focus in on the delicious rich flavor of the crab – with a little boost from Old Bay and a creamy but not too bulky sauce!

If the mention of crab cakes has you craving, come check out my Crab Cakes with Tomato + Corn Salsa!

You can make Crab Imperial in a large pie dish or casserole dish, but I like mine made up in individual servings. A small crock or a large ramekin is just about perfect and makes sure you get all those delicious lump crab flavors and a little of the cracker and parmesan crust to boot!

Here’s what goes into our dish, if you want to serve 4:

  • about half of one red bell pepper, finely diced
  • about half of one small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat, picked clean
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 dozen buttery crackers (Ritz or Town House or similar)
  • Parmesan shavings for garnish
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Start by preheating your oven to 400F and either buttering or spraying your ramekins or crocks (four in this case).

In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Saute the diced pepper and diced onion until softened and fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, beaten egg, white pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Once the pepper and onion mix has cooled, mix that in as well. Gently fold in the crab.

Divide the mixture among the prepared ramekins or crocks. Top with parmesan cheese and crushed crackers evenly. Reserve the shavings and chopped parsley for after baking.

Bake the ramekins for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and bubbly.

Serve warm and enjoy! Or, because this is a really versatile recipe, you can use it as stuffing for shrimp or salmon, or mix with blue cheese for an absolutely amazing steak topper!

As a note, traditional Crab Imperial includes sherry. We don’t include that here, both because I don’t think the flavors of the dish really require it, and because we have a four-year-old little person at the table.

Here’s the recipe card:

Chesapeake Crab Imperial

Find some sweet and savory winter comfort in this Chesapeake Bay dish that’s basically a delicious and less sticky crab cake in a dish with all my favorite flavors of Virginia and Maryland!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 319 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 ea red bell pepper finely diced
  • 1/2 ea yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ea egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat picked clean
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 1 dozen buttery crackers
  • Parmesan shavings for garnish
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Start by preheating your oven to 400F and either buttering or spraying your ramekins or crocks.
  • In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Saute the diced pepper and diced onion until softened and fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, beaten egg, white pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Once the pepper and onion mix has cooled, mix that in as well. Gently fold in the crab.
  • Divide the mixture among the prepared ramekins or crocks. Top with parmesan cheese and crushed crackers evenly. Reserve the shavings and chopped parsley for after baking.
  • Bake the ramekins for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and bubbly.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 319kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 24gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 1285mgPotassium: 278mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 122IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 143mgIron: 1mg
Keyword crab, parmesan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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