And continuing with the seafood theme, the next big dinner I made (when a couple of Eliza’s local friends joined us) started off with crab dip. It was a great way to keep the always ravenous college kids out of the kitchen while I was preparing the rest of the meal. I used a recipe I found online (by Lidey Heuck) that was pretty straightforward and had the added bonus of finishing off the Ritz Crackers we had on hand. It also uses Old Bay, something that is ubiquitous in Maryland, where David grew up. I ended up using the spice mix that the seafood market made (especially since it came in a little Ziploc bag and I didn’t have to buy more than I needed for the recipe) but I think David enjoyed the nod to the many years he spent eating crabs and Old Bay with his high school buddies.
Baked Crab Dip with Old Bay and Ritz Crackers
Unsalted butter, for greasing the baking dish
8 ounces fresh lump or jumbo lump crab meat
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 scallion, trimmed and minced, plus more for serving
¾ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, plus more for serving
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup crushed Ritz crackers (from about 7 crackers), plus more whole crackers for serving
Sliced English cucumbers and other crackers, for serving
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a shallow, 2-cup capacity baking dish or ovenproof skillet with butter.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crab meat, cream cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan, mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, scallion, Old Bay and salt; mix with a fork until thoroughly combined. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and the crushed Ritz crackers; sprinkle the mixture evenly over the dip.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown on top. Dust lightly with Old Bay, sprinkle with a few minced scallions, and serve hot with sliced cucumbers and crackers.