Crab Tchoupitoulas

This recipe is a riff on a dish served at Pere Antoine in the Vieux Carré. There, mushroom caps are stuffed with a creamed spinach-mushroom-crab mixture, then breaded and deep-fried. Here the stuffing is served en casserole, a superb addition to any event buffet.

Sauté a half pound of thinly-sliced fresh mushrooms in a stick of butter. Stir in two cups chopped spinach and a half pound lump crab meat (picked through!). Make a quart of cream sauce–use half-and-half–and add to spinach/crab mix along with a cup of freshly grated hard/sharp cheese. Work in a finely julienned sweet red pepper, a few tablespoons of grated onion, and a minced clove of garlic (or two).

Season to your taste; I like a good slash of white pepper and a teaspoon or so of dried thyme. Mix very well, pour into an oiled casserole, and top with a freshly-grated hard cheese. Bake at 350 until browned and bubbling. Serve with dry toast and fresh lemons.

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