Traditional holiday recipes are a funny fare: They are dishes served only once a year at a festive occasion. Yes, it seems almost sacrilegious to serve those special foods at non-holiday times of the year. So if I actually had the nerve to prepare my great grandmother’s Crabmeat Casserole for an occurrence that were not Christmas Eve, I wouldn’t dare tell Mom or my sisters; and I would be a little worried that Grandma might be admonishing me from heaven. That is why, since I’m sharing it here with you all, I had to make a few modern updates for my version of Wasabi Crab Casserole!
My grandmother, as well as Mom baked individual casserole servings in giant scallop shells. So when I was a little girl, even though I didn’t particularly care for this dish, I always asked for some so I could eat off of the super special real seashell. (As a girl from land-locked Montana cattle ranch, this was as close as I ever got to eating anything from the sea inside any sort of shell!)
As I mentioned Crabmeat Casserole was always served Christmas Eve alongside sweet white zinfandel with a variety of cheese, crackers, sausage and crudité: Carrot sticks, celery sticks, pickled beets and dill pickles. These were served on the fun card party tin snack plates seen below. I have a tall stack of Grandma’s snack plates now and love to use them instead of paper plates at any sort of party. They’re so festive! As is this simple crab casserole; serve it on a buffet table with other appetizers – or as a first course to a special meal.
Wasabi Crab Casserole
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoons wasabi paste
- 1 can crab meat
- 4 hardboiled eggs
- 1 cup toasted cubed whole grain white sandwich bread
- 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
- Melt butter in saucepan, whisk in flour, salt and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Whisk in mustard, lemon juice, wasabi until smooth.
- Gently stir in crab meat, eggs and toasted bread. Pour into buttered casserole dish or individual casserole cups.
- Melt remaining 1 teaspoon butter and stir in panko breadcrumbs; sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. (If top is not getting golden, broil for a few minutes, but watch closely.)