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Dungeness crab meat is tasty but also pricey. Try purchasing Alaska King Crab legs and picking the meat out. It’s easy to do by using a pair of clean scissors to open up the legs. Then just give the meat a very coarse chop to cut it into ½ -inch pieces.

Dip can be prepared up to two days in advance — if using very fresh crab — and baked when your guests are just starting to arrive. Easy to make Fresh Thyme and Sea Salt Crostini bake at the same oven temperature to make things easy!

Makes 12-24 servings

1 small (8 ounce) wheel brie cheese

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2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced onion

2 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms

2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

½ cup dry sherry

1½ cups mayonnaise (Note: Do not use reduced-fat or fat-free. I like to use Best Foods in this recipe.)

3 cups (about 10 ounces) shredded, high-quality Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon Tabasco

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup thinly sliced green onion

¼ cup minced sweet red bell pepper (optional)

½ cup minced celery

¾ pound crab meat, drained well (about 2 ½ cups drained), see introduction

Minced fresh parsley

Fresh Thyme and Sea Salt Crostini (see accompanying recipe)

1. Cut the brie cheese into ½ -inch pieces, set aside and then let come to room temperature.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often till half cooked, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until the onions are very soft and the mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and sherry and continue cooking until the sherry is completely reduced about 8 minutes. (There should not be any liquid left.) Set aside to cool.

3. Place the room temperature brie in a mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed for about 1 minute or until the cheese is softened. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add half of the mayonnaise. Mix for 3 more minutes on medium-high speed. Add the remaining mayonnaise, Parmesan, Tabasco and lemon juice. Mix together on medium speed until well mixed, about 1 minute.

4. Remove bowl from mixer and fold-in the cooled mushroom mixture, green onion, pepper, celery and crab meat — being careful not to break up the crabmeat. Do not overmix.

5. Place dip in a 7-by-11-inch baking dish, or 2 quart ovenproof serving dish. Smooth out but do not compact it. (Dip can be covered and refrigerated up to one day at this point.)

6. When ready to serve dip, place in a 400 degree preheated oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until dip just starts to bubble around the edges, is heated through and the cheese is melted — be careful not to overcook. If desired, sprinkle with minced fresh parsley. Serve immediately with Fresh Thyme and Sea Salt Crostini, or rustic flat bread or crackers.

© 2013 Kathy Casey Food Studios,

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