The first time I ever had crab dip was at a restaurant in The Tiger’s Tale, a simple bar and grill where my parents would take us to have dinner if we happened to be north of Princeton. It was nothing special, but probably a fun place to get drinks and appetizers if you live in the New Jersey suburbs and happen to like getting drinks and appetizers. I say this because the one thing on the menu that did stand out to me was the “Varsity Club” hot spicy crab dip.
This was most likely my first date with a dip loaded full of cream cheese and mayonnaise, and you know what? It was good. Real real good.
The version that I’ve recreated since is not quite as real, real good as the version I remember at The Tiger’s Tale, but that is also not leaving room for the fact that I probably have that one hyped up in hindsight (hindsight tends to do that).
At The Tiger’s Tale, the crab dip was loaded with cream cheese and mayonnaise, Maryland crab meat and “secret seasoning” which to be honest, is probably something like Old Bay seasoning and not so secret.
In any case, I tried to recreate the dip in all its former glory a few years ago, and I found these photos in my archives when I was doing some back end work on the site.
Whether or not this dip holds a candle to its probably-more-fattening counterpart in Princeton, it’s tasty and I like it and it is definitely too good to be languishing somewhere in Internet complacency.
I should warn you: depending on your tolerance for heat you might want to up the ante here. I went with a teaspoon of hot sauce and that was plenty for my palate (and seemed to be well received by my friends, if I remember correctly) but if you have a higher heat tolerance you can adjust to your liking.
- 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, free of shells
- 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup green onions, minced, optional
- 5 to 6 roasted garlic cloves or 2 cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine all of the ingredients in an oven safe bowl or baking dish and gently stir until thoroughly mixed. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot with crackers or toast points.