Crab Imperial

Made with pearly pieces of fresh lump crab meat, crab imperial is a lavish casserole. The crab is abetted by a buttery cream sauce with citrus twang and pepper pop as well as a shot of sherry, and the whole shebang is topped with a lid of melted Parmesan cheese. It’s at its best on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and in Maryland, but can be found in deluxe seafood restaurants in other places where there is access to good crab. Sting Ray’s in Cape Charles, Virginia, offers a meal called Smithfield crab imperial, for which a small casserole is lined with slices of country ham and the crab imperial is baked atop it.

Restaurants With This Dish

Shrimp, lobster & crab in a pool of butter in a hot copper pan


Orange sweet potato biscuit holds salty pink country ham
Sting Ray’s | Best Eastern Shore Seafood, at Chez Exxon


Big, pearly hunks of crab imperial swaddled in creamy sauce, perch atop a short stack of crisp-fried green tomatoes.
Café des Amis


Harris Crab House





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