- 4 tablespoons (Â½ stick) butter
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground hot red pepper (cayenne)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons Amontillado sherry
- Â½ cup mayonnaise (measure firmly packed)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Â½ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for bits of shell and cartilage, then flaked
- Sweet paprika
Itâ€™s said that crab cakes are to Crab Imperial as meatloaf is to prime ribs.
- Preheat the oven to 450Â° F. Spritz a 5-to 6-cup gratin dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small, heavy saucepan over moderate heat, add the onion, and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 8 minutes until lightly browned. Blend in the flour, both peppers, and nutmeg, and cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the half-and-half and sherry and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat and blend in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt; set aside.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add the crab and warm for 1 minute, taking care not to break up the lumps. Gently fold the reserved cream sauce into the crab.
- Scoop all into the gratin dish, blush the top with paprika, slide onto the middle oven shelf, and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes or until bubbling and tipped with brown.
- Serve at once, accompanied, if you like, with fluffy boiled rice.