Spicy crab dip with cilantro and chives

The flavor of fresh crabmeat is so fabulous all on its own that my goal in developing a crab dip was to use a minimum of ingredients. I wanted to highlight the crab flavor and texture, not mask it. Though I keep a jar of sambal oelek—an Indonesian hot chile pepper paste—in my refrigerator at all times, I thought it might be too obscure an ingredient to use in this recipe. When I went shopping to see where I could buy sambal oelek, my Asian market was out of stock, but my local supermarket had it right on the shelf in the Asian section—yours probably will, too.


Makes about 2 cups


1 pound fresh crabmeat picked over for shells, well drained
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro minced
2 teaspoons fresh chives minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek


Place the crabmeat in a medium bowl and use your fingers to flake the crabmeat. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the mayonnaise, cilantro, chives, lemon zest, and sambal oelek. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a bit more sambal oelek if you want a spicier dip. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld. Serve slightly chilled.
Dippables: Crostini; Pita Chips; Bagel Chips; Wonton Crisps; Potato Chips; Taro Root Chips
Dip Do-Ahead: This dip is best when made within 4 hours of serving, but it can be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving. Serve chilled, but not refrigerator cold.