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Crab Gratin

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
6 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup light cream
6 ounces freshly grated Swiss Gruyere cheese or Swiss Emmentaler
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry (French) vermouth
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
paprika for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set shelf about 5-6 inches under the
broiler. Lightly butter the casserole or shells. Melt 4 tablespoons
of butter in a heavy 2 or 2 1/2 quart saucepan. Use medium heat.
When melted, add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook 2-3
minutes after mixture is frothy. Add milk and cream all at once.
They should be at room temperature or warmer. Stir until sauce is
thickened and smooth. Add vermouth and lemon juice. Cook for several
minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed with salt and pepper.
To hot sauce, slowly add about 2/3 of the grated cheese. Stir until
smooth. Do not boil. This can be done ahead and held, off heat,
until ready to finish. To hot mixture, add crab meat. Fold in
carefully to avoid breaking up the lumps of meat. When mixed and
warmed through, put mixture in casserole or shells. Do not fill to
the edge. Sprinkle remaining cheese on the surface. Dot with
remaining butter and dust lightly with paprika. Put casserole or
shells in oven, and bake for about 4 minutes. As soon as mixture
starts to bubble, put under the broiler for a minute or two, just
enough to color the surface. Serve immediately. Ingredients for
4 servings as a main course or 6 as a first course.


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