jalapeño crab poppers

Labor Day Weekend truly is the Sunday of the summer season. It’s always hard to say goodbye to endless beach days, barbecues and that one pair of Old Navy flip flops that has seen more adventure this summer than a pair of shoes could imagine, but there is so much excitement that awaits in the fall.

For this year’s Labor Day barbecue, I wanted to incorporate my absolute favorite seafood: lump crab meat. I’ve been going crabbing for fun since I was a kid. Pulling up a trap with a big blue claw crab was always like Christmas morning. The messy-yet-rewarding process of picking lump crab meat out of freshly steamed crabs was the perfect way to spend a summer evening; it was only fitting that my last homemade meal of the “unofficial” summer season involved crab.

Jalapeño poppers have long been a favorite of mine at restaurants. They usually involve jalapeño and either a cheddar or cream cheese center. This time, I decided to put a crabby spin on them. To reduce the spice, I removed the seeds and membranes from the peppers—I like a kick, but nothing so hot that it overpowers the other flavors.

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Makes 10 poppers

5 fresh jalapeños
1/4 cup lump crab meat (or more if you’d like!)
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 garlic clove, minced
2 cups panko bread crumbs
salt & pepper
Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs, plus a splash of milk
Olive oil, as needed

Slice the jalapeños lengthwise and remove seeds and membranes (membranes are the white area inside the jalapeño —this will reduce spice). Set aside. In a bowl, combine crab meat, cream cheese and garlic and mix until consistency is the same throughout. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Old Bay. Spread onto jalapeños and refrigerate 30 minutes. In a pan or deep fryer, add olive oil and heat to 350. Add flour to a small bowl, then add egg wash (eggs and splash of milk, whisked together) to another small bowl. Coat jalapeños in a thin layer of flour, then dip in egg wash, then toss in bread crumbs (I usually put my bread crumbs in a resealable bag to easily toss). Fry until golden brown, about 45 seconds.

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