I love this recipe because it highlights the great cheeses Wisconsin has to offer and features zesty Creole spices and crab, which is a nod to my New Orleans roots. It's a great dip that can be made the day before and packs a big flavor punch.
Technique tip: Make sure the cream cheese is softened and all ingredients are mixed well for even distribution.
Swap option: If you're not a seafood fan, this dip is still excellent without the crabmeat. Just don't use imitation crabmeat, as it will get mushy.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup shredded 6-cheese Italian blend, divided
- 3/4 cup finely diced shallots
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce, preferably Louisiana
- 2 teaspoons stone ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely diced green and yellow bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can lump crabmeat
- Brandy, to flambé
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 whole pita pockets
For the dip:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a glass pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a bowl combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, half of the Italian cheese blend, shallots, Creole seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, hot sauce, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Mix to blend well.
3. In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat, add oil and allow to heat for about 20 seconds. Add the green and yellow bell peppers and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the garlic and crab meat and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Carefully add a healthy splash of brandy and flambé. Remove from heat.
4. Gently fold in the crabmeat mixture into the cream cheese base, making sure to mix well.
5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pie plate and spread the mixture across evenly. Top with the remaining Italian cheese blend. Bake on center rack for 20-25 minutes or until there is a nice golden brown crust.
6. Remove from oven and cool about 10-15 minutes prior to serving.
For the pita chips:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Combine all of the dry seasoning in a small bowl and mix well.
3. With a knife, carefully slice each pita to make 8 pieces just like a pizza. At this point they should look like pizza wedges. With a serrated knife carefully split each wedge directly down the middle to create 2 pieces. Continue this process with the remaining wedges.
4. Spread out the chips on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the olive oil generously over the pita chips.
5. Sprinkle with seasoning blend and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve with crab dip.