Maryland Crab Dip Pairs With Vouvray Sec

This Chesapeake Bay staple is creamy, sweet and savory.


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Holiday parties warrant decadent, wine-friendly hors d’oeuvres—but you don’t have to be a slave to your stove to make this crowd-pleasing dish. Inspired by the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay region, this rich, warming crab dip is a favorite at Wit & Wisdom, but can be made at home in less than an hour.

Maryland Jumbo Crab Dip

Recipe courtesy Clayton Miller, executive chef of Wit & Wisdom, A Tavern by Michael Mina at the Four Seasons Hotel, Baltimore

1 cup grated Comté
¼ cup grated pecorino Romano
1 cup Béchamel (recipe below)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1½ teaspoons Chesapeake Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 pound Maryland jumbo-lump crab meat, shells removed
1 teaspoon green onions, chopped, for garnish
Steamed artichoke leaves, to serve
Cucumber slices, to serve
Pumpernickel crostini, to serve

Preheat an oven to 325˚F.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cheeses, Béchamel, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, hot sauce, seasoning, parsley and chives. Once incorporated, gently fold in the crab meat. Lightly coat an oven-safe bowl with nonstick spray, and pour in the mixture.

Bake the mixture uncovered for 30–40 minutes, or until golden brown on top and warmed throughout. Garnish with chopped green onions, and serve with steamed artichoke hearts, cucumber slices and pumpernickel crostini. Serves 4–6.

Wine Pairing: Tiffany Dawn Soto, beverage manager of the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore, suggests pairing this dish with a Vouvray sec, like those produced by Didier Champalou, Philippe Foreau or Domaine Huet. “The dish presents a complex pairing given the sweetness of the crab; creamy, rich nuttiness of the Comté; and subtle spice,” says Soto. “A Vouvray sec offers a rich balance with the proper dose of acidity and minerality to juxtapose beautifully with this Chesapeake staple.”

Béchamel

Recipe courtesy Clayton Miller, executive chef of Wit & Wisdom, A Tavern by Michael Mina at the Four Seasons Hotel, Baltimore

Similar to velouté sauce, Béchamel is used to make traditional Italian lasagna and also serves as the base for many standard French sauces, such as Mornay and Soubise. Here, it adds a creamy texture and flavor to the Maryland crab dip.  

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1¼ cups whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan set over low heat, and then add the flour. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until the flour is cooked but hasn’t changed color, about 5 minutes. Stir the milk into the mixture, and bring it to a simmer, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Let cool in a refrigerator before using. Yields 1 cup.

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