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~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~

IMG_3224These appetizers were one of our Happy Valley tailgate traditions.  I fondly remember one of our members, Joan Reilly, making them for our early AM pre-tailgate tailgates -- prior to leaving for the stadium.  She and her husband Joe lived close to Beaver Stadium, and, it was not unusual for us to meet, as a group, on the cul-de-sac in front of their house, to wait for our friend with the RV to arrive from Harrisburg.  While we were all chatting and sipping Stan's Bloody Mary's, Joan would pass around a baking sheet full of her cheesy English-muffin-based crabmeat canapés.

IMG_3128Crab bites, crab melts, crab toasties, crab melt-a-ways and crabbys (or krabbys when made with imitation krab meat).  These are just a few of the names you'll find associated with this vintage (circa 1970's) recipe.

All recipes for  these rely on an English muffin base and a concoction consisting of pasteurized crabmeat and Old English cheese spread.  Some recipes are baked, and others are broiled.  Mine (actually Joan's) is a combination of both.  I lightly toast the muffins first, heap them with the crab mixture, then broil them for a few short moments.  Some folks claim they can be assembled and frozen, to be baked and/or broiled at a later date, but, these "crab thingies" are so gosh darned easy to make, I've never been willing to risk compromising them by freezing.  When I was a kid, my mother kept Kraft Old English cheese spread in our refrigerator right next to their pimento cheese spread.  I like to use 1, 5-ounce jar of each to make my crabmeat canapés -- that choice is yours.

Steaming-hot & straight-out-of-the-oven --

IMG_3241What a yummy little way to start game day.

IMG_31351  1-pound can pasteurized crabmeat, drained of any excess moisture

8  tablespoons salted butter, melted (1 stick)

1/4-1/2  teaspoon (a generous/heaping 1/4 teaspoon) garlic powder

1/4-1/2  teaspoon (a generous/heaping 1/4 teaspoon) onion powder

2  5-ounce jars Kraft Old English Cheese Spread, softened-slightly in the microwave, or, 1, 5-ounce jar Old English + 1, 5-ounce jar Kraft Pimento Cheese Spread, which is my favorite

1/2  cup high-quality mayonnaise, preferably Duke's or Hellmann's

9  Thomas' English Muffins, split to form 18 pieces (Note:  I purchase 9-packs at our local Sam's Club.)

sliced grape or cherry tomato "coins", for garnish

IMG_3142 IMG_3144 IMG_3150 IMG_3154 IMG_3158~Step 1.  In a 1-cup measuring container, place butter, garlic and onion powders.  In the microwave, melt the butter and set aside.  In a medium bowl, place the crabmeat, Old English cheese spread and optional pimento cheese spread and mayonnaise.  Drizzle in the melted butter. Using a spoon, thoroughly combine all ingredients together.

IMG_3161 IMG_3168 IMG_3175 IMG_3178 IMG_3183~Step 2.  Using a serrated knife, slice muffins in half.  Don't split them with a fork. Slicing them will yield 12 even-sized halves.  Splitting them will not. In toaster or on rack of toaster oven, toast English muffin halves until nicely-browned.  Place toasted halves on baking pans that have been lined with parchment paper.  Using a spoon, scoop 3 tablespoons filling onto the center of each muffin.  Use the spoon to flatten and spread the filling out across the top. Place pan of muffins, 5 1/2"-6" underneath preheated broiler, for 3 minutes, watching carefully during the last 30 seconds, as they will go from nicely-golden to horribly burned very quickly.

It's ok eat one whole too, as a breakfast or brunch entrée:

IMG_3194It's just a bigger, yummier way to start game day:

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c91b82a6970bOld English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés:  Recipe yields 4 cups crabmeat & cheese filling,  enough to top 18 English muffin halves, and, 6 dozen bite-sized appetizers/72 bite-sized triangular-shaped pieces.

Special Equipment List:  1-cup measuring container; serrated bread knife; toaster or toaster oven; 1, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan, or, 3, 12 1/2" x 8 3/4" baking pans; parchment paper

IMG_3031 IMG_3048Cook's Note: As mentioned above, my mom kept the Old English next to the Pimento Cheese  -- on the door of our refrigerator.  I adored them, but, was a young adult when I learned pimento cheese was Southern.  I thought it was Kraft. Live and learn -- I learned how to make my own ~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


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