Crab and Artichoke Dip

A Crabtastic Summer

Bill Shaw Cooking Aboard

For a local seafood fanatic like myself, it’s just not summer around here without plenty of Dungeness crab. As the executive chef of Roche Harbor Resort on San Juan Island, whenever I get ready to make these signature Dungeness Crab and Artichoke Dip or Dungeness Crab Bisque recipes, I can’t help but smile at the many memories I have with these time-honored dishes. It’s amazing how closely taste and memory are connected.

In late summer of 1993, I boarded a Kenmore Air seaplane bound for Roche Harbor to interview for the executive chef position I hold today. When I arrived, the beauty of the gardens and sounds of the busy harbor overcame me, but what really grabbed my attention was the roar of laughter coming from a little bar on a deck over the water. Inside, a server who surprisingly was an old friend from Seattle who had been working at Roche during the summer seasons.

I asked her what she thought were the best things on the menu and she replied without hesitation, “You have got to have the Dungeness Bisque and a Fluffy Duck.” The bisque was rich, creamy, loaded with crab, and had some smoky heat from the Spanish paprika. After my interview, I celebrated with a Fluffy Duck cocktail, and the Dungeness Crab Bisque has continued to be one of our most requested recipes, unchanged from my first day at Roche Harbor.

The dip recipe here is not only delicious on its own, but also as an ingredient. Many restaurants have a menu item that was inspired by this basic recipe created in the 70’s by Joan Komen, beloved wife of Rich Komen, and current co-owner of Roche Harbor Resort. Roche Harbor hosts many boat owner groups throughout the summer season and one of their favorite events on the first night is a potluck appetizer party. I have been honored in the past with judging the best appetizer of the event. A few variations of this recipe are always in the competition. A common mistake is adding excess crab (it’s true, there is such a thing!) or use a mayonnaise that is not made with egg yolks. Eggs are an amazing ingredient and are essential to this recipe because when baked together the crab and mayonnaise make a savory custard-like spread. Too much crab (or other ingredients) will change the egg-to-ingredient ratio resulting in an oily disappointment.

Dungeness Crab and Artichoke Dip

Dungeness Crab and Artichoke Dip

  • ½ cup fresh Dungeness crab meat, drained
  • ½ cup artichoke hearts (unmarinated), coarsely chopped into ½” pieces
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, peeled, cut into quarter sections, then sliced paper thin
  • 1 cup egg yolk-based mayonnaise (Best Foods brand strongly recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 each fresh lemon
  • 1 fresh baguette

Combine Dungeness crab, artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, yellow onion, and mayonnaise in a medium bowl and mix well. Wrap and hold in refrigerator until needed. Place desired amount of crab mixture in heatproof ramekin and place in a 400-degree oven until an internal temperature of 140 degrees is achieved or browned on top and bubbling. Top with parsley and lemon slice. Serve with warm sliced French bread.

Dungeness Crab Quesadilla

My first memory of beer battered halibut was when I was about six years old. My dad had just returned from a fishing trip in Seward, Alaska, and invited a few families over for a fish fry. My dad’s fishing buddies stood around a large pot over an oversized military burner, laughing and sharing stories about fishing and jokes that they had played on each other earlier that day when, suddenly, my dad shoved a warm golden chunk of fried fish in my hand. As I bit through the crispy, salty crust and tasted the moist, flavorful halibut, I was hooked. I spent many years ordering fish and chips at restaurants trying to repeat that experience, but my memory of that first fried halibut has never been repeated.

  • ¾ cup fresh Dungeness crab and artichoke dip (see recipe)
  • 6” flour tortilla, gordita style (2 per person)
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 each Roma tomato, seeded and chopped fine
  • 3 Tablespoons butter

Divide crab mixture in half and spread on half of each tortilla. Top with cheddar & Parmesan cheese followed by diced tomato. Fold filled tortilla in half. Wrap and hold in refrigerator until needed. Heat skillet or griddle on medium heat. Melt butter and place crab filled tortilla in buttered griddle or pan for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Turn and repeat. Place golden crab quesadilla on cutting board and cut in fourths. Place crab quesadilla slices on heated plate and serve with lemon, salsa, and lime-sour cream if desired. Serves four.

Dungeness Crab Quesadilla

Dungeness Crab Bisque

Dungeness Crab Bisque

Crab base can be purchased at gourmet food stores or online. Minor’s brand (no added MSG) is what I use in the kitchen, and when refrigerated it can last up to 275 days. Bisque can be made 2 to 3 days ahead of time by leaving out the milk, whipping cream and Dungeness crab meat, then covering with plastic wrap and storing in your refrigerator.

Serves 6, 12-ounce servings

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and rough cut
  • 1 celery stalk, rough cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and seeded, rough cut
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored and seeded, rough cut
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and rough cut
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 ounce brandy
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning®
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon chives, fresh cut 1/8”
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon, fresh – finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon crab base
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 2 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces Dungeness crab meat, fresh
  • 1 tablespoon chives, sliced 1/8”

Place vegetables and garlic into food processor. Using the pulse button, pulse the vegetables 5 to 7 times to create a fine mince. Place a heavy bottom 5-quart saucepan over medium heat and add processed vegetables and the fresh herbs. Continue cooking until the vegetables are al dente or firm to the bite. Deglaze the vegetables with brandy. Deglazing the pan detaches the flavorful cooked on pieces away from the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, place a saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. When butter is melted, add flour and whisk together, forming a roux. Continue cooking the roux for 4 to 5 minutes or until the color begins to darken. Allowing the roux to slowly cook over medium heat creates a nutty flavor that enhances the flavor in soups and sauces. Reserve the roux for the next step.

Add paprika, Old Bay Seasoning, black pepper, cayenne and crab base to the deglazed vegetables and continue cooking over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add milk and whipping cream. Continue stirring until the bisque reaches a temperature of 160 degrees.

Add the reserved roux to the bisque and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking bisque until a temperature of 180 degrees is achieved (approximately 30 minutes). Stirring frequently to avoid scorching. The bisque should be thick in consistency. When ready to serve, ladle bisque into soup bowls and garnish with fresh Dungeness crab and chives.

Extra: Crab Crostini

  • ¾ cup fresh Dungeness crab and artichoke dip (see recipe)
  • 16 French baguette slices, sliced ½” and toasted with garlic butter
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 3 each Roma tomato, sliced in 1/8″
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine

Place toasted baguette slice on sheet pan. Top each bread slice with sliced tomato, followed by 1 tablespoon of crab mixture and Parmesan cheese. In a preheated 350-degree oven, place crab crostini on center rack and bake until golden. Sprinkle with parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

Crab Pot Macaroni and Cheese

My first memory of beer battered halibut was when I was about six years old. My dad had just returned from a fishing trip in Seward, Alaska, and invited a few families over for a fish fry. My dad’s fishing buddies stood around a large pot over an oversized military burner, laughing and sharing stories about fishing and jokes that they had played on each other earlier that day when, suddenly, my dad shoved a warm golden chunk of fried fish in my hand. As I bit through the crispy, salty crust and tasted the moist, flavorful halibut, I was hooked. I spent many years ordering fish and chips at restaurants trying to repeat that experience, but my memory of that first fried halibut has never been repeated.

  • 1/3-cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated (For first step)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons butter melted
  • 4 cups ziti pasta, cooked al dente (Firm to the bite)
  • 4 cups garlic cream sauce
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (For second step)
  • ½ lbs. Dungeness crab meat

Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic and Parmesan in a mixing bowl and slowly drizzle melted butter while stirring the breadcrumb mixture. Continue to stir the crumb mixture until the butter is evenly distributed and absorbed by the breadcrumbs.

In a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic cream sauce, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan to the pan. When sauce begins to bubble, add pasta and continue cooking until the pasta is warm. Place the heated pasta and cheese in a heatproof baking dish. Sprinkle the Dungeness crab meat over the top of the pasta followed by the au gratin topping, allowing the crab to peak through. Place in a 350-degree oven and bake until the au gratin is browned and the center of the pasta is hot.

Crab Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Bill Shaw

Written by

Bill Shaw is the head chef of Roche Harbor Resort and Marina of San Juan Island. Shaw has worked at Roche since 1993. He loves utilizing local ingredients and takes full advantage the area’s seasonal goods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *