Deviled Crab A La McGee's Branch Recipe

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Recipe adapted from Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago

Deviled Crab à La McGee's Branch
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Make Deviled Crab from Big Jones in Chicago.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 1 hour
  • ½ loaf country-style bread, sliced into ½-inch-thick pieces
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino (or other sheep's-milk) cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons, melted
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole milk, divided
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut half of the presliced bread lengthwise in half or thirds (depending on how wide the slices are) and set aside. Roughly tear the remaining pieces of bread and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and, once cool, use a food processor to pulverize the toasted bread into fine crumbs. Add the Pecorino and melted butter, pulse to combine, then set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 375°.
  2. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the flour. Cook, slowly whisking, until the mixture is a deep golden color, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Whisk in 2 tablespoons milk, stirring out any lumps, then whisk in the remaining milk a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture is thin enough to look sauce-like rather than paste-like. Whisk in the cream, bring to a boil, then whisk in the white wine, mustard, Worcestershire, nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the crabmeat and return the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a 1-quart baking dish or loaf pan, spreading the crab mixture out in an even layer.
  5. Sprinkle the breadcrumb-Pecorino mixture over the crab and bake until the topping is golden-brown and the filling bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside while toasting the remaining bread pieces.
  6. While the crab bakes, heat a grill pan over high heat. Brush both sides of each piece of bread with olive oil and toast a few slices at a time in the grill pan until marked, 1½ to 2 minutes. Turn the bread pieces over and repeat on the other side (the bread can also be toasted under a broiler after the deviled crab comes out of the oven). Serve the grilled bread alongside the warm deviled crab.
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