Crabmeat Dewey

Created over a century ago at a Maryland yacht club to commemorate Commodore George Dewey’s victory at Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War, Crabmeat Dewey has come down as one of the true wonders of Southern cookery. Served in handsome ramekins as the first course of a stylish meal, the dish is right up there with shrimp remoulade and hobotee. I also like to serve crabmeat Dewey in a large casserole as a main course with no more than cole slaw, pickled peaches, and hot biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 scallions (white part only), finely chopped
  • ½ cup sweet sherry
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pimentos
  • cups half-and-half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • pounds fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage and flaked
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter 6 attractive 2-cup ramekins and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat, add the mushrooms, bell pepper, and scallions, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the sherry and simmer till the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the pimentos and half-and-half, season with salt and pepper, and bring almost to a boil. Add the crabmeat, reduce the heat to low, and stir till well blended.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared ramekins, sprinkle the cheese equally over the tops, and bake till lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.