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Stuffed Crab Shells Recipe


Stuffed Crab Shells

In Brazil we have a different species of crab, but I think the American variety, especially the Maryland blue, is one of the best in the world — meatier and sweeter. Because of this, I like to make this recipe (casquinha de siri) more often in the United States than in Brazil.

I love to serve the crab in a seashell. Most of the time, I use scallop shells instead of the original crab shells, but if you don’t have a sea creature shell available, just use a porcelain ramekin.

This is a fantastic recipe for entertaining because it can be completely assembled ahead of time.

Adapted from "The Brazilian Kitchen" by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz.


For the crab:

  • 1 cup diced white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup diced yellow pepper
  • ½ cup diced green pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup unsweetened grated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

For the crust:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup manioc flour (farinha de mandioca
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • Maldon sea salt, for serving


For the crab:

Place the bread in a bowl, pour the coconut milk over, and let soak for 10-20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients

Pick over the crabmeat to remove any excess shell and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion and the yellow and green peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until it is tender. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute, until they get hot. Add the wine and reduce it by half, 1-2 minutes. Add the bread, coconut milk, and the grated coconut. Cook, stirring, until everything starts blending together, about 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the crab, mustard, and lemon juice. Fold everything together. Some pieces of crab will naturally shred, but try to keep some big lumps. Add the butter and cilantro. Season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay. If your mixture looks dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut milk or wine. Transfer to a bowl and let completely. This can be done for up to two days ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the manioc flour and stir constantly, toasting the flour until it reaches a light golden color. Watch carefully so that the flour does not burn. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Let cool for 5 minutes, then add the Parmesan and mix it in evenly.

Divide the crab mixture into the scallop shells. Spread a thin coat of crust on top. Place the stuffed shells onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven until the filling is hot and the crust is a light golden brown, 12-14 minutes.

To serve, place a small pile of Maldon sea salt on the bottom of a soup plate and place a shell on top.