The last piece of leftover pie is eaten, and while we still have some straggling turkey and dressing and mashed sweet potatoes left in Tupperwares in the fridge, at this point I think it is safe to say that the Thanksgiving feast has drawn to a close.
My husband and I spent this Thanksgiving in San Antonio, away from our families. And while the tradition of the whole family gathered around the table was not a reality for us this year, we certainly remembered our loved ones through the tradition of preparing family-specialty dishes. Sharing traditions and passing them through households is perhaps the best part of Thanksgiving. In fact, I dare say the sharing of traditional dishes is even better than the "everything sandwiches" my husband looks forward to creating from Turkey Day leftovers (imagine your traditional Thanksgiving plate, only sandwiched between two pieces of bread).
I have yet to find another family that shares my family's Crab Demose tradition. Before every Thanksgiving feast, we began the meal with a rich, flavorful seafood appetizer served out of hallmark seashell plates. I have no idea where the recipe originated, but I do know it is something my grandmother - Grandmarj - used to prepared for her holiday table. Given the lavish amounts of mayonnaise in the recipe, combined with the rich flavors of mustard and curry, and rounded out with a bright squeeze of lemon, the dish is so flavorful that it is perfectly at home on a Thanksgiving table.
So on Thursday, while the pies baked and the kitchen was full of aromas of nutmeg and sage and browing meats and baking bread, my husband and I sat down to a table for two. We feasted on Crab Demose as a bountiful amuse bouche to the main meal. My grandmother, my own mother, and the entire extended family were with us in spirit. I felt thankful to share the holiday with my family, if not in person via the tradition passed from kitchen to kitchen.
Of course, this does not need to be a Thanksgiving-only dish. You can whip it up for a decadent lunch, an impressive first course at your next dinner party, or perhaps with a nice green salad for your own dinner tonight. Any way you make it, I hope it finds a place in your recipe file reserved for special occasions and special people. Maybe someday it will also become your special tradition.
Serves 4 -6
This dish is best served in a shallow shell, and yes, I mean a real shell. The best part of this dish is the crunchy crust that forms over the top. To maximize crust and ensure everything heats through as it should, arrange the dish in shallow layers. It also helps to use piping hot wild rice when you assemble the dish, otherwise it will not heat through.
1 cup mayonaise
4 tsp premium mustard, I prefer Dijon
4 tsp yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-4 tsp lemon juice to taste
1/2 lbs. lump crab meat
1 cup wild rice, cooked
1/2 Parmesan cheese
Combine first five ingredients to create sauce. If sauce is too think to spread easily, thin with a little bit of milk. In a shallow dish, lay down a bed of wild rice, hollowing out a crater in the center. Layer lump crab meat in rice crater. Top generously with sauce, ensuring all crab is covered. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and place under broiler until melted and brown crust forms.