Crab Chops

10 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon Cajun Creole Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound crabmeat, drained and picked for shells
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons green pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 large garlic pod, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onions with 3 inches of top, finely chopped
3 eggs
3 cups soft, fresh, French bread crumbs, pulverized
2 tablespoons cooking oil
6 crab claws, cooked in their shell (optional)
Creole tartar sauce:
1 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon Creole mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup green onions including 3 inches of top, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup dill pickle, finely chopped

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and mix well. Stirring constantly with wire whisk, add milk in a slow thin stream and cook over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, thickens heavily and is smooth. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in Cajun Creole Seasoning and black pepper. With rubber spatula, scrape contents of pan into a deep bowl. Add the crabmeat, celery, green pepper, parsley, garlic and green onions. Mix all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Taste for seasoning. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and crab mixture is firm.

Break eggs into a shallow bowl and beat to a froth. Spread the bread crumbs on wax paper. Divide the crab mixture into 6 equal portions and with your hand pat each portion into a "chop" shape about 5 inches long and 1/2-inch thick. As you form each chop, place in bread crumbs and turn it carefully to coat both sides. Immerse the chop in the beaten eggs, then turn over in the crumbs again. As you finish each chop, place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet side by side. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm coating.

In a heavy 12-inch skillet, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter with the oil over medium heat. When the foam begins to subside, add crab chops and fry, turning them once with metal spatula. Fry them for 10 minutes or until they are delicately browned on both sides. Arrange on platter and arrange crab claw at the narrow end of each chop (optional).

To prepare tartar sauce, mix all ingredients together and taste for seasoning. Sauce may be prepared and refrigerated for 2 or 3 days before serving.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana