Crab Imperial with Shaved Fennel, Clementine and Roasted Beet Salad

Crab Imperial is a classic dish first appearing on menus in Baltimore in the later part of the 19th century and was first published in a cookbook in 1939. There are many versions, some with breadcrumbs, some with a roux, some with peppers and onions. I went very classic and very simple, however, used our best of the best Jumbo Lump crabmeat and boy does it shine. In the end this Crab Imperial is basically a baked crab cake mix without and breadcrumbs and can easily be an excellent gluten free or Keto option. It is paired with a very bright, beautiful and refreshing salad of beets, shaved fennel, clementine segments and pickled red onions.

  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 15m
  • Total Time: 35m


  • For the Imperial
  • 1 pound Crab
  • 1 Large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Seafood Seasoning, such as Old Bay brand
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • For the Salad
  • 1 package (8.8oz) Cooked Beets, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 Bulb Fennel, shaved thin on a mandolin or thinly sliced, reserve some of the fronds
  • 4 Clementine, cut into segments (supremes)
  • 1/4 cup Pickled Red Onions (please see our Crab Club Sandwich recipe for instructions)
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons Clementine Juice, from 1-2 Clementine
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste


  1. For the Crab Imperial
  2. Preheat the oven to 375⁰. In a large bowl, add the egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, seafood seasoning, sugar and the cayenne, whisk to combine. Add the crab and gently fold to combine. Place in the refrigerator and allow to combine for at least 15 minutes. Portion the mix evenly into 4 gratin dishes, ramekins or similar. Top evenly with the Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, until bubbly with a golden brown top. Serve with toast points, crostini or even crudités.
  3. For the Fennel Salad
  4. In a small bowl, add the Clementine juice and EVOO and whisk to combine, season to taste. Add the fennel and some of the picked fronds and toss to coat. Place a ring mold on a serving plate and surround with slices of beet. Layer the fennel salad, orange segments and pickled red onions in the ring mold. Remove ring and place the cooked crab imperial adjacent.

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