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Crabmeat In Beggar’s Purses

A beggar’s purse is an easier way to tie up a crepe after you’ve filled it with–in this case, crabmeat in a warm sauce. The hard part is making the crepes. You might want to just buy them at the store. A lot of restaurants get their crepes that way. The bigger the crab lumps or crawfish tails, the better. You could also substitute medium shrimp or scallops (on the small side) , or lobster. No oysters–they release too much water as they cook.

These make especially good finger food for a party. But you can easily enjoy a few of them as an entree.

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • About 1 pound (around two cups) of lump crabmeat, crawfish tails, or peeled boiled shrimp, or any combination
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. Creole seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup Calvados or brandy
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 8 crepes, about 9 inches in diameter
  • 1 cup lemony hollandaise (see below)
  • Finely grated Parmigiano cheese

Preheat the broiler.

1. Put the whipping cream into a small saucepan and reduce on medium-low heat by about half. Be careful that it doesn’t foam over.

2. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the seafood, Creole seasoning, and mustard. Cook for about one minute, agitating the pan so as not to break up the crabmeat lumps. Add the Cognac and bring to a boil. Cook one more minute, then lower the heat to low.

3. Beat the egg yolk and whisk quickly into the reduced cream. Add the cream/egg mixture to the seafood pan and agitate to blend well for about a minute. Remove from the heat.

4. Spoon the mixture in a line into the crepes and fold over. Place on ovenproof dishes. Divide the hollandaise over each crepe, and sprinkle the Parmigiano cheese over that. Run the dishes under the broiler, about five inches from the heat, for about a minute and a half. Serve with a warning that the plate will be quite hot.

Serves eight appetizers or four entrees.

Lemony, Light Hollandaise

I make this version of hollandaise for topping crepes and baked oysters. Its texture is a bit thinner than classical hollandaise, and the lemon component is more pronounced–although the longer it sits there staying warm, the thicker it gets. You can use this as a sauce for almost anything. Add small amounts of other ingredients to extend the possibilities. (Example: a teaspoon of Creole mustard.)

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne

1. Briskly whisk the egg yolks with 1 Tbs. warm water in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering but not boiling water until they begin to noticeably thicken. If the eggs appear to be curdling, take the bowl off the heat, but keep whisking. Keep going back and forth from the heat until the mixture is uniform in texture and much lighter in color.

2. Adding the melted butter, a pat at a time, while whisking. After about a fourth of the butter is in there, you’ll see a major change in the texture of the sauce. Add a teaspoon of water at that point and step up the addition of the butter a bit. Keep going till all the butter is incorporated.

3. Whisk in the cayenne and lemon juice. Serve right away.

Makes about 1 cup.