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Crabmeat Au Gratin

“Au gratin” does not mean “covered with a thick layer of day-glo melted cheese.” Unfortunately, that’s the accepted meaning in this country, where we somehow have the idea that adding cheese to anything makes it better. The best versions of crabmeat au gratin prove the opposite is true. Take it very easy on the cheese. This crust is mostly bread crumbs, although there’s some Parmesan cheese both in the crust and in the sauce. You will thank me for not ruining the taste of the crabmeat with melted Cheddar or the like.

  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbs. green onion tops, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 5 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese (the real Italian cheese, not a cheap imitation)
  • 2 Tbs. bread crumbs
  • 1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat

1. Heat the cream in a skillet and reduce by about a third. Add all the vegetables and return to a boil. Stir in the Creole seasoning, lemon juice, and 3 Tbs. Parmesan cheese.

2. Add the crabmeat and toss in the pan to combine with the sauce. Be careful not to break up the lumps.

3. Divide the mixture into four ovenproof dishes for appetizers, two for entrees. Combine the remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, and sprinkle the mixture over the top. Put the dishes into the broiler until the sauce begins to bubble. Serve immediately.

Serves four appetizers or two entrees.