Crab Mac ‘N Cheese

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Wow!

I cannot believe it.  This is my 500th Post on this Blog and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate with my favorite comfort food.

I absolutely love Macaroni and Cheese and this is a very special dish meant for any occasion. The homemade bechamel sauce compliments the sweet jumbo lump crab meat perfectly. Serve it as a side dish or as an entree it’s a fantastic and budget friendly way to serve crab meat to a crowd with style.

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds conchigliette pasta*
1/4 cup butter
1 shallot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic,finely minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
Chopped fresh parsley or crushed dried parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant and softened,for 3 minutes. Add flour and whisk until combined and golden, for about 1 minute. Add milk and season with salt and pepper. Simmer 2 minutes, until sauce is thickened and smooth.

Stir in 1/2 white cheddar, the mozzarella and Asiago until slightly melted, then remove from heat.

Add the bechamel sauce and crab meat to pot with cooked pasta and gently stir with a wooden spoon until completely combined.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar and 1/4 cup Parmesan and bake until bubbly, for 20 minutes.

Garnish the dish with parsley and serve immediately.

*Cooks Notes:
Conchiglie [koŋˈkiʎʎe], is a type of pasta in which the name is derived from the Italian word “conchiglia” .Commonly known as “shells” or “seashells” , this pasta is usually sold in the plain durum wheat variety, and also in colored varieties which use natural pigments, such as tomato extract, squid ink or spinach extract. The shell shape of the pasta allows the sauce to adhere to it. A miniature variety called conchigliette is also available.

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Burger a la Oscar

The best burger, ever!

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Crab and Avocado Salad

Avocados filled with crab salad

Photo Credit: Layla Pujol, Laylita’s Recipes ,www. laylitas.com, 2015

With Summer approaching, no one wants to stand in a hot kitchen over a stove. With that being said, here is a salad that requires a sharp knife, a large bowl , serving plates and a fork. Not only is this salad healthy for you and gluten-free, but it is refreshing as well. You can use any type of fresh crab meat. I prefer Dungeness crab meat, and you can easily substitute the crab for cooked peeled shrimp as well.

The basic ingredients for this classic dish from Ecuador is  prepared by filling ripe avocados with a a crab salad, red onion, bell pepper, cucumber, radishes, lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro.

Enjoy!

Courtesy of Layla Pujol of  Laylita’s Recipes, 2015

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 pound of cooked crab meat
½ red onion, finely chopped
½ red bell pepper, finely diced
½ green bell pepper, finely diced
½ cucumber, finely diced
4 radishes, finely diced
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4-5 ripe but firm avocados
½ lime

To garnish:
Iceberg Lettuce or salad greens
Fresh cilantro leaves
Sliced scallions
Sliced radishes

Directions:
To prepare the crab salad:
Mix the cooked crab meat with diced onions, diced bell peppers, diced cucumbers, diced radish, lime juice, olive oil, chopped cilantro, and salt and pepper. The salad can be prepared in advance and kept refrigerated until just ready to assemble the avocados.

Cut the avocados in half, remove the seeds and peel the avocados. Sprinkle each avocado half with a little lime juice to prevent the avocados from browning too quickly.

Fill the center of the avocados halves with the crab salad. Serve the crab stuffed avocados over lettuce leaves and garnished with scallions and radishes.