I’ve been fond of imitation crab ever since my first taste of it dipped in a little homemade cocktail sauce. And I kind of like imitation crab that’s mixed with cheese that can be found at some Chinese buffets. The former is great to serve as an appetizer at a party.
But after discovering lump crab meat, I’ve decided the real thing is a lot better. My only cooking experience lump crab is the canned variety, which is about all we can get up here in the hinterland. I used it in a seafood chowder along with some shrimp and halibut.
Crab meat, like shrimp and salmon, works great for appetizers. The following finger-food recipe for crab-stuffed mushrooms would be a nice addition to a New Year’s Eve party.
I think the canned or even the imitation varieties would work well in the recipe. Both usually can be found in a supermarket’s meat department, although the canned sometimes is lumped in with other grocery items such as tuna.
Spicy Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms
20 large (about 2½-inch diameter) white mushrooms
2 cups white wine
2 cups water
1 clove garlic
Juice of ½ lemon
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 shallot, peeled, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled, minced
1 pound cooked lump crab meat
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
½ cup bread crumbs
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and finely chop the stems . Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot, bring all the poaching liquid ingredients to a boil. Add the mushroom caps. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Remove mushrooms from poaching liquid, season with salt and pepper and place bottom side up on a baking sheet.
In a medium skillet heat vegetable oil and saute the chopped mushroom stems, shallots and garlic until light golden brown. Set aside and let cool. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in the crab, egg, Dijon, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and zest and bread crumbs.
Evenly divide the mixture among the poached mushroom caps. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm or room temperature.
Yield: 20 stuffed mushrooms.
Approximate nutritional analysis per stuffed mushroom: 48 calories, 37 percent of calories from fat), 2 grams fat (no saturated), 2 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 101 milligrams sodium, 29 milligrams cholesterol, no fiber.