Friday, December 23, 2016

"Party Dips!" - Andy Husbands's Hot Crabmeat Dip - Holiday Party Food!

Date I made this recipe:  December 4, 2016 – Holiday Party Food!

Party Dips! – 50 zippy, zesty, spicy, savory, tasty, tempting dips by Sally Sampson
Published by The Harvard Common Press
ISBN: 978-1-55832-278-3; © 2004
Purchased at Bloomington Crime Prevention Association (BCPA) annual sale
Recipe:  Andy Husbands's Hot Crabmeat Dip – p. 72

My guy's name is Andy.  He is my husband.  This recipe momentarily confused me – Andy Husbands is a chef and restaurateur who contributed this recipe - but then I got over it and made this dish anyway.  My Husband Andy loved it so there you go.

Our guests also enjoyed this delicious dip and I also think that this was the first one to be cleaned out from all the party selections we made.  But that stands to reason, right, because people see "crab" and they fall on it like it was a long-lost relative who hasn't been seen in these parts for the past 20 years.  And when you think about where Minnesota is in relation to an ocean (and yes, Lake Superior is huge but it doesn't count), then this makes sense.

Now maybe I'm just getting older and more jaded when it comes to selecting party fare, but aside from this crabmeat dip, none of the other recipes in this cookbook did much for me.  And it wasn't that they didn't sound tasty, it's just that they felt too standard:  onion dip, hummus, ranch dressing – yawn.  And this is not to say the other dips aren't potentially great, it just wasn't their year: "Sorry, 'Creamy Sesame Dip,' but you didn't make the final cut.  While we admired your flavor...."

So this year it was crab and only crab and we were done and that was a good thing because too many recipes later and we get "crabby" (pun intended) and who wants crabby party hosts?

The table of contents for this book is broken out by dip categories as follows:  "Party Dip Basics;" "Smooth Dips;" "Chunky Dips," and "Cheesy Dips."  Each recipe also comes with a "Divine Dippers" tip on what to serve these dips with, such as vegetables, or potatoes, or crackers. I appreciate that even if I usually have my own ideas about serving.  And the recipe photos, like the one on the cover, are lovely plus they are a great guide for recreating the same platters at home.  I tend to like cookbooks that include photos.  There don't have to be a ton of them, just enough to give me an idea of the author's/chef's take on their creations.

Before we leave the world of dips, I have to admit that every year, I put out some sort of veggie and dip tray, and every year, more often than not, I am not completely satisfied with the dip.  And I don't know why that is but it sort of annoys me.  And our guests seem to follow suit in that they will eat the veggies but don't demolish the dips.  And I've tried all kinds of dip. 

This year, I made a  veggie dip from a different source and it fell flat on its face.  Perhaps then, I should have considered the Ranch Dip (p. 23) featured in this cookbook?  Perhaps.

As to this crabmeat dip, it can be served hot or cold but I opted for hot.  I think guests like hot dips as they are not usually something they make at home.  You can make the mixture up in advance and refrigerate, adding the crabmeat just prior to baking. That said, the difficulty of serving hot dips at a party is keeping them hot.  I believe I put this in the microwave a couple of times during our four-hour party to reheat and you can do the same but do watch your time carefully so that your dip won't dry out.

I purchased my can of crabmeat at Coastal Seafoods, a local fishmonger, just before Thanksgiving (it needs to be refrigerated anyway), and ran into a friend who was there buying mussels for her portion of a Thanksgiving dinner to be spent with friends.  "Party food," I said, as I held up my purchase for her inspection.  "Are you making the almond bon-bons?"  (Her favorite item at our party.)  "We are!"  "Can't wait!"

So she came and enjoyed the almond bon-bons and the crabmeat dip (at least I think she enjoyed it—others sure did) and all was well with my world and my Husband(s), Andy!

Andy Husbands's Hot Crabmeat Dip – makes 2 cups
 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to your taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh horseradish
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Ann's Notes:  I had a hell of a time – who knew – finding a fresh horseradish root that wasn't as long as a baseball bat.  And I still have a chunk of it left over.  And be warned that grating it is like grating an onion, i.e. you'll start crying.  Also, make your life easier and just buy crabmeat that has already been picked over for shells and cartilage.  It costs a bit more but saves a lot of time and energy and possibly swearing.

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Place a small skillet over medium-high heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes.  Place the garlic in a medium-size mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, celery, shallot, lemon juice, parsley, horseradish, mustard, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and mix well.  Using a spatula, lightly fold in the crabmeat.  Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a small casserole and bake until light brown, 10 to 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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