Deviled Crab

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    4 to 6


Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

Deviled dishes, meaning those with special spices and generally containing dry mustard, were commonplace in my childhood. Although deviled foods are a part of a national pattern in American kitchens (you will also find foods “à la diable” or devil’s style in French cookery), I have always considered deviled—or well-spiced—dishes, such as the following recipe for crabmeat, to be particularly Southern. The dish is seasoned with those two most basic Southern staples, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces, seasonings my mother could not have cooked without. It can be made with any kind of crab—blue crab, Dungeness, Alaskan king, or whatever.


  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons plus 8 teaspoons butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¾ cup finely chopped celery
  • cup finely chopped sweet green pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pimiento
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup fresh or bottled clam juice
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • teaspoons chopped scallion(s) or chives
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Hot Mustard
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Pick over the crabmeat to remove any trace of shell or cartilage. Place the crabmeat in a mixing bowl.
  2. Chop the eggs and add them to the crab. Add the parsley.
  3. Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet and add the onion, celery, and green pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent. Add to the crabmeat mixture along with the chopped pimiento.
  4. Fold in cups bread crumbs and moisten with the clam juice and sherry. Add the scallions, Tabasco, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper.
  5. Beat the egg lightly and add it to the crab mixture. Fold all the ingredients together until well blended.
  6. Pile equal parts of the mixture into 8 or 10 crab shells, scallop shells, or ceramic ramekins. Smooth over the tops and brush each with mustard. Sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs. Dot with the remaining butter.
  7. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Place the shells on a baking sheet and bake 20 to 30 minutes, until piping hot throughout and golden brown on top. Serve with lemon wedges.