Maryland Seafood Cookbook 2, published by a mid-Atlantic seaport agency, has six recipes for crab imperial, each from 6 restaurants in the Bay area. They vary in complexity: one is served inside heated avocado halves, another inside frozen patty shells with a pimento sauce. One called "Deep Fish Crab Imperial" substitutes milk or cream, flour, and butter for the mayonnaise. A similar deep-dish recipe in Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, called "Crab/Lobster Newburg", uses half-and-half. It contains 11 g saturated fat and 286 g cholesterol.
A cookbook published by the Mystic Seaport Museum in New England includes a recipe called Chesapeake Crab Imperial, a tribute to a sister seaport. The American Heart Association (AHA) cookbook's recipe for Crabmeat Maryland uses milk, flour, in place of mayonnaise. The Association nutrient analysis: 0 g saturated fat and 35 mg of cholesterol fat.
Crab comes close to beef tenderloin and salmon in cholesterol content, but is higher in minerals, including folates, and vitamins than salmon or other fish. Folates help prevent damage to blood vessels, reducing risk of heart attack and stroke. (Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
The recipe below is a blend of all three sources. For those not worried about fat or cholesterol levels, substitute cream for the milk and flour. See Seasonings to make your own.
1/2 lb fresh crabmeat, cartilege removed
1 T butter
1 T flour
1/2 cp milk
1 T onion, chopped
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2-3 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 slices bread, lightly toasted and crumbled(1 cp?), or herbed bread crumbs
1/2 cp mayonnaise (low fat makes little difference in taste)
6-8 drops liquid hot pepper sauce, e.g. Tabasco
1/4 t seafood seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
paprika for topping
1. Melt butter in medium saucepan on medium-low heat, mix in flour. Slowly add milk,
stirring constantly, till sauce is smooth and thick.
2. Stir in onion and Worcestershire sauce, remove from heat and cool.
3. Gently fold in bread crumbs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, and seasonings, including salt and pepper.
4. Gently toss crabmeat into sauce mixture.
5. Combine into a small casserole and sprinkle with paprika.
6. Bake at about 425° for 10-15 minutes till hot and lightly browned on top.