One of the very first things that I learned to cook was crab dip. My Dad used to make it occasionally for sporting events and it was basically a simple version with crab, butter, cream cheese, and some Old Bay. Easy and delicious!
This version is a bit more complex, but still very easy to make. Plus, with a few plating tips, you can really impress your house guests with this delicious, and pretty affordable Cajun Seafood Dip. * SAVE MONEY TIP* To cut the cost some, we are going with Claw meat rather than Lump. Keep your Lump for crab cakes and use this for the dip!
All Cajun/Creole inspired dishes start with some version of what’s called the Holy Trinity. It’s basically just onion, celery, and bell pepper. The color of the pepper does not matter – I went with red here for visual purposes, but use whatever you like.
Find whatever shrimp is on sale – again, this is a dip. If this was a dish with more finesse, I’d tell you to buy fresh shrimp. However, here, feel free to buy frozen peeled and deveined.
I seasoned the shrimp with these 3 beauties below, but feel free to experiment and use whatever your favorite seasonings are.
We are going to cut them into small chunks and season generously.
To get started, melt your butter and then add your veggies. You want to cook the veggies for about 2-3 minutes to “sweat” them and allow them to release their flavors. Afterward, deglaze your skillet with about 1/4 cup of sherry. Crank the heat up to medium high and reduce. (about 2-3 minutes stirring often)
Once your Sherry has cooked off a bit, add in your seasoned shrimp and incorporate.
Next, we are going to add about a tbs of Worcestershire sauce along with a tbs of your favorite hot sauce.
Once that has been incorporated, go ahead and add 1 block of room temperature cream cheese. (If you allow the cream cheese to come up to room temp, it will melt and incorporate much easier)
Reduce your heat and allow everything to come together.
Once your cream cheese has melted, mix in your parmesan cheese.
Next, we are going to add some colby jack cheese. You can use whatever cheese you like. I often use pepper jack here as well to kick up the spice a bit.
Once the cheese has melted, turn your heat to low and mix in 1/2 of your crab meat. We are going to preserve the other half to garnish the top of our finished product.
At this point, you want to give this mixture one last taste-test and determine if you need to adjust the flavor profile. If it’s too spicy you can add some sour cream or more cheese. If it’s not spicy enough, add more hot sauce or cayenne. If it’s bland, add more creole seasoning. The more you learn how to balance flavor and adjust things on the fly, the better chef you will become!
Once you’ve mixed in your crab meat evenly, top with a thin layer of cheddar cheese and put the skillet in a 375 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.
Now, to make it beautiful! Always remember, people eat with their eyes first! Cooking and serving food should be a full experience. Add the remainder of your crab meat to the middle of this dish and top with chopped parsley. Serve with crackers or chips and enjoy!
1 package cream cheese (room temp)
3 tbs butter
3 tbs diced onion
3 tbs diced bell pepper
3 tbs diced celery
1 tbs minced garlic
1 lb crab claw meat
10 oz shrimp
8 oz cheddar jack cheese
8 oz parmesan cheese
4 oz cheddar cheese
1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbs hot sauce (more to taste)
1/4 cup sherry
Favorite Cajun seasoning (to taste)
salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder (to taste)
chopped parsley (garnish)
Pre-heat oven to 375. Prep veggies.
Begin by melting butter in cast iron skillet. Add onions and celery and cook thru. Add garlic once onions are done cooking.
Add in shrimp and cook thru.
Add in your cream cheese and melt/incorporate.
Add sherry, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and mix to combine.
Begin seasoning at this point and taste as you go. Add in crab meat and mix to incorporate
Turn the heat to low and slowly mix in your cheese until everything is melted. Adjust your seasoning here to your preference, and top with your remaining cheese.
Place in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the top is browned and dip is hot/bubbly. Garnish with parsley and any remaining seafood for presentation. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or toasted baguettes.