One of my favorite appetizers as a child was my mother’s crab mousse, one she always turned out expertly onto a plate from one of her copper-lined molds. She used gelatin to set the mousse’s shape and its elegant appearance belied the use of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup which was the foundation of the dip. When I moved out on my own in my 20s and started entertaining friends I tried the recipe a couple of times but I remember failing miserably at my efforts . I could never figure out why my version would never set…so I gave up trying for many years. There are some things (okay, many, many things) that moms just do best and for me, this was one of them.
When I started dating Mr. L&A crab dip returned to my life. One friend’s signature appetizer was a crab dip that looked and tasted remarkably like my mother’s. Whenever this friend would show up to a get-together I would find myself parked in front of the appetizer table enjoying bite after tasty bite of her crab dip. If my friends wanted to chat with me, they knew where to find me and on the occasion that I didn’t eat all of the dip at the party, the rest would be sent home with me.
Eventually I learned to make my own version. I don’t remember where I found the original recipe but my version skips the cream of mushroom soup and gelatin altogether in lieu of some fresher ingredients. While canned crab meat would work just fine here, I do prefer to use fresh crab and bay shrimp–the small amount needed of both in this recipe won’t break the bank but it’s certainly enough to make you want to park yourself in front of the appetizer table after you taste it.
* This dip is wonderful with crackers and/or veggies but for a bit more elegance, this would make an ideal filling for my popular Cucumber Cups.
- 1 8-oz package cream cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise, can't tell the difference)
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ lb crabmeat, flaked
- 3 ounces cooked small bay shrimp
- ½ cup chopped celery
- Process cheeses, mayo milk, garlic, Worcestershire and lemon juice until smooth. Stir in the crab, shrimp and celery. Best if covered and refrigerated for a few hours before serving.