I have a couple of friends and every now and then we come together to cackle, eat food and drink wine. A sort of modern witches covern if you like. Our latest gathering involved inviting the “boys” and I was tasked with providing the starter. It may surprise you to learn I have a couple of cook books and amongst my favourites is an old-school book called “Small Food” from which I’ve poached this recipe.
It all felt a bit 70’s as I was making it and I felt a bit like a kaftan adorned wife waiting for her husband to come home for cocktail hour, whilst sipping a Martini Rosso. Warm dips should definitely make a comeback. And kaftans.
A couple of large knobs of butter
1 onion (or a couple of shallots) finely chopped
A couple of cloves of garlic minced or finely chopped
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Approx 120-160mls cream
150g cream cheese
Crab meat drained (I used 3 x 170g tins of shredded crabmeat, chunks of crab meat would also be good)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Fresh tarragon (I used about a small handful, most of a bunch that you can buy at the supermarket. It’s the main flavour. Keep a sprinkle back for the top.)
Handful of breadcrumbs
Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and sweat the garlic and onion gently for a few minutes. Add the mustard, cayenne pepper and most of the cream. Keep simmering as you add the cream cheese and whisk this in and allow to cook for a few minutes. Take off the heat and add the crab, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and most of the tarragon. Check the consistency now. You walk a fine line here between claggy and soup. What you want is creamy deliciousness that you can smear onto bread, so you may want to add a little more cream to thin it out. If it’s too runny then perhaps add a few of the breadcrumbs now to thicken it up. Transfer the dip to an ovenproof dish.
Take the remaining breadcrumbs and tarragon and sprinkle over the top, spreading the other knob of butter as you go. What you could do is fry this up to a golden crumble before sprinkling on, but hey, perhaps not if you do your own washing up.
At this stage you could heat this in the oven or set aside in the fridge for heating later. When you are ready put into a medium oven for about 20 minutes until warmed through. Serve with bread and kaftans.
© Sarah-Jane and Stephen Lewis. All rights reserved.