A couple of weeks ago, a Facebook picture of a pizza grabbed me by the heart and made me miss my Maryland days big time! Pizza? Maryland? What's the connection? It was CRAB DIP pizza! Be still my pitter-pattering little mourning-being-near-the-best-crabs-in-the-country, Maryland-missing heart.
I'm not sure exactly who or what page I follow posted the pizza of my dreams, but I'm going to blame Steve Vilnit, Director of Fisheries Marketing - Maryland Department of Natural Resources - for the temptation. Yep, Steve gets the blame...er...credit...if for no other reason than we are as one when it comes to supporting the Maryland crab industry.
You all know I've forever been an ardent supporter of authentic, honest-to-God, sweet, succulent, Maryland blue crabmeat and I wouldn't use anything else. Not exactly easy when you live this far inland from the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore of Maryland now, is it?
Except. That I had one last beautiful pound of REAL Maryland jumbo lump crabmeat stashed away in the freezer just waiting to become something spectacular. THIS was just what it was waiting for, THIS glorious Maryland recipe. I was going to duplicate sweet, creamy, decadent crab-dip-on-a-crust just like in the picture AND I could make it gluten-free to boot.
The big bonus of topping a store bought pizza crust with crab dip - even after piling the mixture of Maryland crab, 3 cheeses, marinated artichokes, jalapeno and just a touch of garlic up nice and high - is that there is a whole lot left over to scoop into a casserole dish for dipping with big, crunchy hunks of bread the next day (or later in the evening if you can't wait that long). What's better than a night of crab? TWO nights of crab! Oh sure, you could make half a recipe, but why would you? More Maryland crab is always better.
When you get to Maryland next time (notice I said when, not if), do like I do and make a local fresh seafood market the very last stop of your own trip. Be sure to take a cooler with you just for the purpose of bringing back pounds of heavenly, real Maryland crabmeat to tuck away in your own freezer. I can guarantee your fishmonger (crabmonger?) will be happy to fill your cooler with enough ice to keep your precious cargo cold. After all, one should always be prepared anytime a crab emergency strikes.
True Blue Maryland Crab, Artichoke
And Jalapeno Dip Pizza
- 1 pound MARYLAND jumbo lump crabmeat, picked through carefully for any shell or cartiledge - please don't break up those gorgeous big lumps, thank you.
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened well
- 1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar, plus extra for top
- 1/2 C shredded mozzarella
- juice of one lemon
- 2 - 4 oz. jars of marinated artichokes, drained, reserve liquid - you'll use 2-4 T reserved liquid
- 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
- 1/4 C mayonnaise - yes, Hellman's
- 1 large clove garlic, pressed through your garlic press
- 1 store-bought pizza crust - I used an Udi's Gluten-Free Pizza Crust to make this GF. The Udi's crust is approx. 8" in diameter. Use whatever crust you like - Boboli, whatever floats your boat!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat the mayo and cream cheese together with lemon juice. Add the shredded cheeses and fold those into the cream cheese mixture. Add artichokes, minced jalapeno, garlic and mix well, but gently. Last, gently and lovingly fold the crab into the mixture being careful to keep the lumps as whole as possible.
Place your pizza crust onto a baking sheet. Place scoops of crab dip on top - I used a large (approx. 1/2 C) ice cream scoop - and for the 8" crust used 4-5 scoops that I spread out evenly (don't break up the lumps!) all the way out to the edge of the crust. Sprinkle the extra shredded cheddar over all.
Any crab dip that might be left (you'll use more if you use a larger diameter crust), scoop into a buttered casserole dish. Either bake it immediately with the pizza or cover and refrigerate it for the next night.
Bake about 20 minutes, turn up the oven to 450 degrees and bake until the cheese starts to bubble and slightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before cutting into wedges. Enjoy!
NOTE: Enjoying the surf and sand of Ocean City? Bring back Maryland crab. Sailing the waters of Annapolis or St. Michaels? Bring back Maryland crab. Hitting the hot spots of Baltimore's Fells Point? You get the idea.
And while you're in Maryland, be sure to frequent restaurants and fresh seafood stores that carry and serve only Maryland crab. Here's a link to the True Blue Maryland program and a list of awesome places to get your Maryland crab fix! http://seafood.maryland.gov/true-blue-maryland-crab-meat/
Look for this logo to know you're buying the best!