I first tasted a version of this luscious, highly seasoned crabmeat, which certainly fulfills the latter criteria, as a filling for pastry turnovers. But the buttery, toasty bread provides a far more simpatico delivery system and makes the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.
Makes about 15 sandwich triangles
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, plus more for grilling
1 cup finely diced andouille sausage
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, including some of the green tops
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup grated good Cheddar cheese, such as Cabot Clothbound
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1½ teaspoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg yolk
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and patted dry
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 loaf Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Sliced White Bread
½ cup finely minced Italian parsley or chives, or a mixture of both
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and fry for 5 minutes. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the scallions, cream, Parmesan, Cheddar, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce, and stir until the mixture is bubbling and thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Beat the egg yolk in a large bowl. Gradually add about 1 cup of the cheese mixture, mix well, and stir in the rest. Toss the crab in the lemon juice and fold into the filling. Taste for seasoning and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour before making the sandwiches. (At this point the filling may be refrigerated overnight.)
To make the sandwiches: Cut the crusts off the bread, spread a layer of crab filling between 2 slices, press together, and repeat. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place as many of the sandwiches in the skillet as it will hold. Press down lightly with a spatula and turn over after about 2 minutes, or as soon as the underside is golden brown. Press down again and remove the sandwiches from the skillet to a warm baking sheet when the flipsides have browned. As you cook, you will likely need to add more butter. If the butter gets too brown after a few batches, you may need to wipe out the pan and start over.
When all the sandwiches are done, spread the minced parsley on a plate. Cut each sandwich in half into triangles and dip the long edges into the herbs. Serve immediately.
Recipe excerpted from Julia Reed’s South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long by Julia Reed (Rizzoli New York). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Paul Costello.