Deviled Crab

Deviled crab is one of the great traditions of the Lowcountry. Unfortunately, due to the many more-bread-crumb-than-crab, freezer-burned versions out there, most people turn their noses up when they think of it. I can't really blame them. Bad deviled crab is really bad. But man, truly good deviled crab is damn tasty. To make vibrant, fresh, moist deviled crab, use delicious Carolina Gold rice to help bind the filling. I like to serve deviled crab in little silver crab tins for a cool retro presentation, but if you're getting fresh whole blue crabs, by all means, use the shells themselves.You can find more delicious recipes in Sean Brock's cookbook, South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations.

Deviled Crab
Photo: Peter Frank Edwards
4 to 6 serves as an appetizer


  • 2 cups water

  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 3/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

  • 1 fresh bay leaf

  • 1/4 cup Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice

  • 1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup ketchup, preferably Heinz

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke's

  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Red Clay Original Hot Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Hominy Miso, or white miso paste

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 cup small dice celery

  • 1/2 cup small dice green bell pepper

  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens

  • 1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper

  • 1 tablespoon Fines Herbes (equal parts finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, chives, and chervil)

  • 1 pound fresh lump blue crab meat, carefully picked over for shells and cartilage

  • 2 teaspoons Bourbon Barrel Bourbon Smoked Paprika

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • Equipment: 12 crab tins or 4-ounce ramekins


  1. Combine the water, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/8 teaspoon of the white pepper, and the bay leaf in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and stir to be sure the salt has dissolved completely. Reduce the heat to medium, add the rice, stir once, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the rice, spread on a rimmed baking sheet, discarding the bay leaf, and cool to room temperature.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  3. Put the panko in a food processor and process until finely ground. You need 1 cup; discard any excess.

  4. Put the egg in a large bowl and beat it lightly. Add the ketchup, mayonnaise, hot sauce, miso, lemon juice, mustard, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne and mix well. Stir in the cooked rice, the celery, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeño, and fines herbes and combine thoroughly. Fold in the ground panko, then gently fold in the crab.

  5. Divide the crab mixture among the crab tins or ramekins, patting the tops lightly to smooth. Combine the paprika and the remaining teaspoon of cayenne in a small bowl. Divide the softened butter among the prepared crab and sprinkle with the paprika mixture.

  6. Place the crab tins or ramekins on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until hot throughout. Turn on the broiler and broil the crab mixture for about 1 minute, until golden brown on top. Transfer to a platter and serve.


Excerpted from South by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.

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