If you’re ready to take your steak to the next level this Chesapeake Crab Butter Sauce is what you seek. Rich buttery crab with a hint of old bay spice make this sauce a must for your next special dinner.
Nothing like fresh Chesapeake crab meat smothered in butter with a hint of old bay. Back in the day as a restaurant chef this butter sauce was one of the most popular menu items. As much as I enjoy a good crab cake to go along with my steak this Chesapeake Crab butter sauce is even more decadent. The sauce pairs perfectly with any cut of steak from a filet Mignon to a juicy NY Strip. If steak isn’t you cup of tea you can also serve this sauce over any type of fresh fish or even chicken breast.
Depending on where you live will dictate your options on what type of crab to use. Here on the east coast blue crab is the most commonly found. Fresh Jumbo Lump Crabmeat is obviously the gold standard but also the most expensive and elusive. Pasteurized Jumbo Lump is a little more economical and when simmered in butter it’s hard to tell the difference between fresh and pasteurized. Lump, backfin and special are also options but they tend to get mushy when cooked in a sauce.
Other crabmeat like Dungeoness, king crab, snow crab or even lobster or langostino are also tasty substitutions for this sauce. I always recommend using what’s local, fresh and the best value.
Pictured Fresh Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab
One of the biggest mistakes when working with crabmeat is overworking it or busting up the lumps that you paid good money for. That’s why I like to prepare the sauce first then gently fold in the crabmeat at the end and just barely warm the crabmeat. Crab is incredibly delicate and can be reduced to stringy mush quite quickly. All you need to do is warm the crabmeat because it is already cooked. Other raw shellfish like lobster or shrimp can handle more heat and cook longer in a sauce.
When preparing any butter sauce you need to make sure that you reduce the heat before whisking in the butter. I add a tablespoon of butter just to sauté the shallots and garlic and then add heavy cream to add richness. Once the cream has reduced it’s important to let the sauce cool so that there are no bubbles in the sauce. Then you can begin quickly whisking in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. The cold butter with thicken the sauce and prevent the butter fats from separating leaving you with a greasy oily sauce. If the does break you can start over because you haven’t added the crabmeat yet.