Decadent crab casserole

Julie Rothman / The Baltimore Sun /

Published Jul 23, 2013 at 05:00AM

Mary Sloan Roby of Baltimore was looking for the recipe for the crab casserole from the old Robertson’s Cafeteria in Charleston, S.C. She said it was very creamy and had cheddar cheese melted on the top.

Carol Smith of Ellicott City, Md., who said she enjoys researching recipes, thinks she has found it. It comes from an article in the Post & Courier newspaper in Charleston published in June 2006. Frank DuRoss, a manager at Robertson’s, had sent in the recipe for the crab casserole from the legendary restaurant.

This rich and decadent dish is an example of Low Country cooking at its finest. It dates itself with some of the ingredients, like the yellow food coloring, but I just chose to leave that out entirely. When made with quality crab meat and good stock, this old-fashioned concoction is hard to beat.

Requests

Joann Levin of Baltimore is looking for the recipe for the famous chopped salad that was served at the now-closed Maison Marconi.

Diane Ball of Baltimore is looking for a recipe she lost for what she thinks was called Ed’s Seafood Boil. She said the recipe appeared some years ago in an article in The Baltimore Sun about tailgate parties before Ravens games. All she can recall is that after adding each ingredient, you bring the pot to a boil and use the boil bag seasoning. In the end, the dish was poured out of the pot into a bowl, and everyone just dug in.

Recipe Finder

Looking for a hard-to-find recipe or can answer a request? Write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or email baltsunrecipefinder@gmail.com. Names must accompany recipes for them to be published.

Robertson’s Cafeteria Crab Casserole

Makes 4 servings.

2 celery ribs, chopped fine

1 med bell pepper, chopped fine

1 med onion, chopped fine

Butter or nonstick spray for sauteing

6 C evaporated milk

3 C chicken or shrimp stock

2 to 3 TBS flour paste (see note)

Salt to taste

Few drops yellow food coloring (optional)

1 TBS chopped pimento

1⁄4 C real sherry, not cooking sherry

1 lb claw crab meat

Grated sharp cheddar cheese as needed for garnish

Pimento strips for garnish

Saute celery, peppers and onions in butter or oil spray until soft. Set aside.

In a separate pot, combine evaporated milk and chicken or shrimp stock. Bring to a simmer, almost to the boiling point, stirring often. Add the reserved vegetables. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of flour paste. (Note: flour paste is made from 1 part flour to 2 parts cold water or stock mixed together.) Cook mixture until slightly thickened.

Add salt to taste and the yellow food coloring, if using. Stir in chopped pimento. Add sherry and stir well. Remove the pot from the heat and let mixture cool to set somewhat.

Divide crabmeat as desired into individual dishes or ramekins, about 6 to 8 ounces in size. Pour milk mixture over crab. Top with sharp cheddar cheese and pimento for garnish.

Bake at 325 degrees until slightly bubbly and cheese is melted and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.