Prep 40 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
The smell of crab-meat cooking, mixed with a medley of favourite fresh herbs, spices and seasonal vegetables start the your "juices" flowing involuntarily. Served with a generous helping of crisp Chardonnay will have your family and/or guests begging for seconds. Served on its own for brunch, with a crusty bread; with rice, orzo or any other pasta dish, your wine preference might switch to a red Colio or Valpolicella. Prep. time includes all cleaning, chopping, shredding, grating while cook time includes from sautee to final bake. I developed this recipe in the recognizable,Italian-style cookery, for the "Ready Set Cook Spring 2003" contest,
- 1 (8 ounce) package frozen crab (thawed)
- 1 medium fresh carrot, shredded
- 3 medium fresh roma tomatoes, sliced
- 6 fresh slim asparagus spears
- 2 stalks fresh broccoli
- 2 -3 medium fresh zucchini, sliced
- 3 -4 fresh cremini mushrooms, with stems sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded provolone cheese
- 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese (or romano cheese, if you prefer)
- 1⁄2 bunch fresh basil, stems removed, coarse-chopped
- 1⁄2 bunch fresh Italian parsley, stems removed coarse-chopped
- 1 -2 sprig fresh tarragon, stems removed, coarse-chopped
- 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 whole fresh green onions, coarse-chopped
- 1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 dash powdered cayenne pepper
- ice water
- boiled water
- Scrape carrot, shred and set aside.
- Skin and slice tomatoes.
- To skin tomatoes, drop individually, into very hot water (just off the boil) for a few seconds.
- Skin should slip off easily, by hand.
- Remove core and discard.
- Slice tomatoes thinly, and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, boil about one cup of water.
- Remove stems from broccholi and drop the florettes into the boiling water.
- Cook for about 2 minutes, until the water returns to boil.
- Remove florettes and dunk in ice water immediately to stop the cooking.
- Drain well; coarse-chop broccholi and set aside.
- Scrub zucchini well and slice on an angle.
- Set aside in a coverered bowl to prevent discolouration.
- Clean asparagus spears, well, and set aside.
- Brush-clean mushrooms to remove all the dirt; Cut the thick base off the mushroom and discard.
- Slice thinly along with stems and set aside.
- Clean green onions well, coarse-chop and set aside.
- Remove crab meat from plastic wrap prior to thawing and place in a collander over a bowl, to thaw and drain.
- (This will eliminate excess water content in the cooking process. Very important.) Coarse-chop crab meat when completely thawed and drained.
- Pat dry with paper towelling.
- CRAB MEAT MIXTURE: Finely chop the crushed garlic.
- In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
- Saute crab meat, mushrooms and garlic.
- In a large mixing bowl, add sauteed crab meat; mushrooms; garlic; carrot; chopped broccholi; ricotta; one half of the grated parmesan; one half of the shredded provalone; chopped basil, tarragon, parsley, black pepper, cayenne pepper.
- Mix well and set aside.
- BREAD CRUMBS MIXTURE: In a skillet, over medium heat, warm one half the olive oil and soften green onions- do not brown.
- Add bread crumbs and mix until all of the oil is absorbed.
- Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl to cool.
- When bread crumbs mixture has cooled, add second half of grated parmesan cheese, and remaining half of provolone cheese and mix well to prevent cheese from"clumping".
- Set aside.
- Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F.
- Using a large oven-proof casserole add the following ingredients in order listed: Balance of the olive oil.
- One row of sliced zucchini; one row of sliced tomato; a sprinkled row of CRAB MEAT MIXTURE.
- Repeat until all of these ingredients have been used.
- Lay asparagus spears across the top and sprinkle all of the bread crumb mixture over top.
- Place casserole in a shallow oven pan; cover and bake in 375F oven for one hour.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325F, and continue baking, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese and bread crumbs are nicely browned.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit for a few moments before serving; it will be very hot.
- Serve directly from casserole.
- Serve on its own as a complete meal with crusty bread; with rice, orzo or any other pasta product.
The results were very tasty but the recipe was more time intensive than I expected. One taster commented that he thought the recipe was better on the following day. The amount of asparagus could have been doubled.