Best Deviled Crabs Recipes
What Puts the Devil in the Crab
As a kid, I wondered what put the Devil in the crab and why Grand'mere would want to do that, since the Devil was high on her hit list of the forbidden. It wasn't until I was an adult that I understood, the Devil in the recipes, are in the ingredients.
For any recipe that has the word "deviled" it simply means the recipe will most likely include the following ingredients:
- Pickle juice
- Onion juice
The most popular crab in all of Louisiana is the Blue Claw Crab -- both the salt water variety and the fresh water kind. They are in season during the summer and a staple of any Cajun cook's pantry. These days most people buy them from commercial seafood companies, but they are readily caught just simply using nets, strings with chicken necks for bait, and trapping them. All are a great pass time for kids and adults.
This is just my opinion, but imitation crab meat is not worth my dollar.
For those who prefer to purchase their crab meat from the store or wholesale seafood outlets -- there are a few basic facts you should know in deciding which kind of crab meat fits your recipe:
- Lump - Most expensive dollar wise, however, this crab meat is obtained from the legs and back flipper part of the crab and is the best tasting.
- Fine - This is the rest of the crab, least expensive, but not best taste wise. However, it is useful in recipes for making dips.
- Claw- Good taste, less expensive than lump, but good for many recipes.
Deviled Crab Meat Casserole
This makes a great meal by itself or as a side dish. It is often served as an after church supper or as a compliment to any holiday meal during crab season.
- 6 1/2 ounce can crab meat (well drained)
- 2 tablespoons grated onion juice and pulp
- 2 tablespoons finely diced green peppers
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 1 can condensed cream of celery soup
- 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- Mix all ingredients except Ritz crackers and butter
- Place into greased 1 quart casserole dish
- Add melted butter to finely crushed Ritz crackers
- Top casserole with cracker mix
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
Deviled Crabs Allemand
Throughout Louisiana's Terrebonne Parish, there are a multitude of seafood recipes. This is a favorite crab-meat recipe with many cooks in the New Iberia area. The deviled crab recipe is not unique to the Cajun culture.
I believe because of the title, that is a recipe borrowed from a German neighbor -- as the Cajun word, for someone of German ancestry is "Allemand."
This crab-meat recipe is more than forty years old. Typically, it is served with a side of coleslaw and a dry beer.
DEVILED CRABS ALLEMAND
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of flour
- 1 cup scalded milk
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
1. Scald milk.
2. Blend all of the above ingredients to make a white sauce and set aside, off burner.
- 16 oz. container of cooked crab-meat
- 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon of onion juice
- 2 egg yolks, mashed
- Chopped up whites of 2 eggs
- 1 raw egg
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tabasco sauce
- Fine Bread Crumbs
1. Mix crab-meat with sauce.
2. Separate egg yolk and egg white.
3. Add dry mustard, lemon juice, onion juice and egg yolk and mix lightly.
4. Fold in beaten white of egg and a dash of Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly.
5. Fill greased crab shells or ramekins with mixture.
6. Sprinkle bread crumbs over each.
7. Add a dash of Tabasco sauce to each.
8. Bake at 375 degree F. oven for 2 minutes
Serve hot with lemon wedges.
Deviled Crab Soup
Deviled Crab Soup is a nice hot meal on winter days. Grand'mere often served it with corn bread, which is another standard dish on any respectable Cajun cook's table.
Deviled Crab Soup
- 1 stick butter (1/4 pound)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 can cream of celery soup
- 1 stalk of fresh celery, finely chopped
- 1 pint light cream
- 1 pound fresh or frozen crab meat
- 1/2 16 oz. can of corn or 1/2 cup of fresh corn
- 1 teaspoon of pickle relish
- Sauté onion in butter
- Add crabmeat and stirring constantly cook for two minutes
- Add finely chopped celery
- Add corn
- Add pickle relish
- Add cream of celery soup
- Add light cream
- Simmer for five minutes
Serve immediately. Serves 4
Hot Deviled Crab Dip
Hot Deviled Crab Dip was a recipe that my Tante Victoria made on Saturday afternoons, whenever the family got together to play bourre.
Bourre is a fast paced Cajun game of poker. These games can last for hours, especially with the men folk, so it was essential that plenty of food was on hand.
While usually dips are served cold, this recipe is served hot and is a real crowd pleaser. Our family liked it with Ritz crackers and saltine crackers.
I think the best way to serve it is with an assortment of crackers.
Hot Deviled Crab Dip
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons pickle relish
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 1/2 cups of crabmeat
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- Assorted crackers of choice
- Combine cream cheese, pickles, Worcestershire and hot sauce
- Mix well
- Add crab meat and onion
- Spoon into buttered 1 quart baking dish or pan
- Add bread crumbs
- Add paprika
- Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes, or until edges are bubbly
Serve warm with crackers
If You'd Like To Know More About Bourre
Bourre - Cajun Style Card Games
Bourre is a fast paced game of cards with similarities to both poker and bridge, that in the past, was viewed as a dangerous game due to the large amounts of money people can lose (and win) for very low stakes.
It's long been popular in Louisiana, and with Texans (who learned it working with Cajuns in the oil industry. It's similar to poker in that the stakes and strategies are alike, plus it's popularity among Cajuns is only second to playing poker.
In our family and most Cajun families, it is played for fun, matches, for small stakes, or on rare occasions, for large stakes.
The game is quite similar to an old card game known as Boston Whist. Boston Whist was the most popular card game before poker came along. Bourre is in some respects similar to a form of five-card bridge. The same kind of bidding, a superior suit known as trumps, and in the order of play.
How to Eat a Louisiana Crab
The Fine Art of Catching Crabs
Every Cajun probably knows how to catch Blue crabs. These little creatures spend their lives in the more brackish estuary areas -- a world in-between, as my grandfather would say. That's the water that is a mixture of the salty Gulf of Mexico and the freshwater inland lakes, rivers, and bayous.
The most efficient and cheapest way to catch the Blue crab is with a string and bait. Once the crab grabs the bait, the fine art of catching crabs is so simple any child can be successful as they slowly pull the crab up and out of the water and scoop them into a net, bucket, or basket.
The subject of which bait to use, is a hotly debated subject. Most people use chicken necks. Some people favor cut up fish, eel, or turkey necks. Old time cattlemen in Louisiana swear by bull lip and I understand that this practice has once again become popular.
Note: For whatever reason, crabs like their bait meal to be a little on the rotted side.
Keeping Crabs Alive Once You've Caught Them
Obviously, the importance of keeping crabs alive once you've caught them, can't be emphasized enough. I once lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia near the Atlantic Ocean. Spent a lovely day introducing my children to the art of catching crabs with strings and chicken necks off a pier.
We came home with a large batch of crabs -- every one of them seeming to still be alive, except one that was a little sluggish. Not put you through the sad tale, let's just say that I was the one who ate that crab, and I was the one who paid dearly, ending up very ill for days.
My first mistake was keeping the crabs on ice. It was quite hot the day we got those crabs. The only thing that packing them on ice does is lull you into thinking "all is well" because they stink less. Unlike fish, shrimp, and other seafood -- they need to be alive when you cook them.
So what's the best way to keep crabs alive? Old wet shop towels, rags, or burlap bags are the best and proven way to keep them from dying. They need humidity and cool temperatures (but not freezing).
You can and should use a small amount of ice if it's hot to keep the temperature down for the crabs. You also need to keep the towels, rags, or burlap wet.
How to Pick Crabs
Lacombre Crab Festival
As with oysters, shrimp, and crawfish -- Blue crabs have their own unique celebrations or festivals when they are in season.
The Lacombe Crab Festival -- An annual event in Lacombe, Louisiana, usually held in June is one of the more popular crab festivals.
Blue Claw crabs only take about ten minutes to cook in boiling water. Most Cajun women, remove and clean the top shell after cooking the crabs. We use them as a mold for stuffed crab dishes.
My Grand'mere often served the above recipe for the Deviled Crab Meat Casserole (above) in the upper shells.
If she was entertaining, it was severed on a bed of lettuce, garnished with slices of home-grown tomatoes, it made a nice presentation.