Welcome to another Foodie Friday! Right now I’m probably either making or cleaning up breakfast for the final day on board the Saltery C with this week’s group of guests. I’ve been up here in Alaska for five weeks now, with three of those weeks working as the executive chef of the boat.
An Update on Life in Alaska
Wildlife, Sunsets, and Nature
It’s been an experience! Outside of the galley, I’ve seen so much wildlife. Brown bears, black bears (with cubs!), porpoises, humpback whales, deer, and more. Bald eagles will swoop in and snatch up the fish we toss back, sometimes as close as 4 feet away from the boat.
And the sunsets! I’ve seen the sun set all over the world, and Alaska manages to stun and awe just as much (or more) than exotic Asian islands. Here are a few photos of some of the highlights of the last few weeks.
I’d talk about the stars, but with the sun setting somewhere around 10 p.m. and my exhaustion from a long day in the galley, I’m rarely awake long enough to see them! Captain Rob has promised to wake me up if he sees the Northern Lights, though. If that happens, I promise to find a way to get photos up!
Inside the Boat
I’m starting to feel confident in my abilities in the galley after a few weeks. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a beginner in a job, and I had forgotten what it felt like! Not only am I getting my head around cooking and plating in a tiny space, but I also have been learning how to be a proper crew member.
I am in charge of setting and retrieving the crab and shrimp pots each week (with the help of the guests), I help guide the boat out of anchor, and I am the one who jumps from boat to dock and grabs the lines to secure it to the dock. It’s a lot to remember! But each week I’m getting closer to getting it down, so hopefully by the next check-in I’ll be a salty old first mate.
The groups we’ve had on board have been excellent — everyone is kind, complimentary, and fun to spend time with. By the time Friday afternoon rolls around, we’re all buddies and I’m sad to see them go!
I’ve done very, very little of this (sadly) so far. The weekends are pretty busy with cleaning up from the week before and prepping for the upcoming week, plus I need to get all my writing and social media scheduling ready to rock and roll since I’m offline for four days! My hope is to get myself at least 2 – 3 weeks ahead on the blog so I have a little more free time on Saturdays to explore and check out some of these salty fisherman bars I’ve heard so much about. Hopefully the next update will have more on this front!
Dungeness Crab Dip Recipe
One of the most fun things we do on the boat is pull a haul of crab and shrimp aboard each week to eat. After the guests have cleaned them all, I boil them up for a huge seafood feast for dinner that evening. There are always leftovers, and finding creative ways to use those leftovers is one of the most fun parts of my job.
Each week I make a slight variation on crab dip based on the group’s taste and food preferences, but I have one universal recipe that I fall back on if I’m unsure. Because crab is so sweet, I love to add a tiny hit of spice to my dip to really make the flavor of the meat come to life. Of course, spice is such a subjective thing that I have to be careful with the amount, so start small and adjust to taste as you see fit.
Note that I don’t usually measure the ingredients for my dip, so these are guesstimations. You will want a dip that’s creamy, but don’t drown the crab in mixings and remove the delicious flavor of the seafood! I’ll do a measure test this week and if anything seems off I’ll be sure to update this recipe accordingly.
Serves 8 servings
This creamy, rich dip will wow party guests and have them coming back until they can't eat another bite. I use fresh crab (obviously) and it makes the dish. If that's not an option, Costco sells crab in plastic tubs that is a good alternative (Chicken of the Sea brand). Serve this with plain crackers, pita chips, and thin slices of baguette.
15 minPrep Time
50 minCook Time
1 hr, 5 Total Time
- 1 lb. Dungeness crab meat, picked over for shells
- 2/3 cup sour cream (full fat)
- 1 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 oz. fontina or havarti cheese, grated
- 2 oz. aged white cheddar, grated
- 1 oz. parmesan, grated
- 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
- 2 - 3 scallions, white & green parts, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Tapatio* hot sauce, or to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Butter, for greasing
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 2 quart round casserole dish with butter and set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the crab, sour cream, mayonnaise, and cream cheese until creamy
- Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and all of the artichoke hearts, scallions, Tapatio, and salt & pepper Mixture should be creamy but thick. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired
- Pour into the casserole dish and top with remaining cheese
- Bake for 40 - 50 minutes, or until bubbly
- Serve and enjoy!
*I have very strong views on hot sauce, and don't think Tapatio can be subbed for Tabasco or something similar without sacrificing the flavor. However, if you feel equally as strongly about a hot sauce, feel free to use it. Let me know how it tastes!
I’ll be exploring all the yumminess crab has to offer this summer, so I promise there will be more recipes coming up. My hope is to infuse some of the flavors I’ve experienced overseas into my next iterations of this dish, so keep an eye out! Maybe a Kampot Pepper Crab dip is in order?
Tell me about your favorite crab dish in the comments, and I’ll see if I can recreate it for my guests!