Faux Crab Casserole

 “Sea” the Possibilities in Your Garden!

Next time you’re making classic yellow squash casserole, and you’re craving a little variety, or a taste of the ocean…try this. Although it sounds bizarre,  squash, when cooked properly,  can masquerade as a seafood dish…an old Southern secret!

First prepare squash for baking (this is a standard recipe):
Approx. 7 or 8 small yellow squash (Crookneck), thinly sliced
1 finely diced onion
1 stalk finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced large green pepper
1/2 cup finely diced large red pepper
1/2 beaten egg
1/2 cup Half & Half or evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour (or more to thicken)
Seasoned breadcrumbs for topping (Panko preferred)

To these ingredients add the following for that “crabby” taste:
1/4 cup best quality mayonnaise
1+ heaping teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or Kosher salt)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Paprika as desired
Cayenne to taste (Very important!)
Generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Step 1: Melt 1+  tablespoons butter in non-stick frying pan. (Large)

Step 2: When butter starts to sizzle add vegetables, cover, lower heat,  and let cook.  Vegetables will produce a lot of liquid. Allow liquid to “cook off”, and saute until translucent.

Step 3: Add remaining butter to veggies, then slowly stir in flour allowing to lightly brown to eliminate “floury” taste. Add Half & Half or evaporated milk  slowly to browned flour to make roux. Whisking constantly.

Once roux achieves a caramel-like consistency, lower heat and very slowly add mayonnaise, and beaten egg  –  stir until thick and smooth. Add salt, pepper and spices liberally – to your taste – not forgetting lemon.

Pour mixture into buttered baking dish, top with breadcrumbs, Paprika and dot with butter. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees until browned and bubbly. (Approx 45 minutes). Remove and place on cooling rack.

Serve warm (not hot) with extra mayo and Worcestershire. A Caesar side salad with tomato, crunchy roll, and glass of Chardonnay is a great accompaniment.  You might not even notice that the crabmeat is missing! (Yes, you will.)

Don’t sweat the small stuff, anyway you look at it, this recipe rocks. xoxo’s!

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