Maggie Monday: Smithfield Crab Imperial

Normally I would be reticent eating much food cooked at a gas station, but looking at what Maggie put together, I have to trust her. Check it out…

I can’t believe I have not posted this recipe yet. This is, without a doubt, my very favorite meal in the whole wide world. I have had amazing meals all over Europe, North America, and places in Africa and South America.

Still, this dish, that originates from a tiny restaurant located in a gas station, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, tops my list. It is perfect.


I fell in love with Cape Charles VA in the early 1990’s, and often visited there with a friend who owned a vacation home there. Sting Rays is a local legend, and we eat there every time we visit. I ordered the Smithfield Crab Imperial on my first visit. I have never ordered anything else. Ever.

My wedding was held in Cape Charles, and we went to Sting Rays for dinner after the wedding. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this restaurant. Go there. Totally worth the trip.

This is the ultimate crab dish. The creamy sweetness of the Crab Imperial is perfectly enhanced by the salty country ham. Perfectly incredible.

On a whim a few years ago I thought I’d google the recipe, and to my shock, I found it. And to my further shock, my home version actually tasted nearly as good as Sting Rays. Nearly. But not quite. When you’re on the shore the crab typically only a few hours from the bay when it hits your plate. It is impossible to get crab that fresh here in the mountains, even though we are in the same state.

I opted to chop up my ham and broil it a bit before cooking the crab. I then folded some into the crab, then sprinkled a bit on top, then baked. Love.

Smithfield Crab Imperial

IMG_2676 - Featured Size

What you need:

1 egg

2/3 cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

2 Tbs Dijon mustard

1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1 pound lump crab meat

8 paper thin slices of Smithfield country ham, biscuit-sized

4 Tbs butter, melted


What you do:

Preheat oven to 400°. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl until fluffly. Add the mayo, sour cream, mustard, Old Bay, parsley, and mix well. Gently fold in the crabmeat. Butter 4 individual ramekins. Place 2 pieces of Smithfield ham in the bottom of each ramekin. Top the ham with the crab mixture. Drizzle the top of each with a little melted butter.


Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Baking3, Eggs, Guest-Maggie, Low Carb, Main Dish 3, Pork2, Recipes, Seafood

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at

One Comment on “Maggie Monday: Smithfield Crab Imperial”

  1. January 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Wow – what a great idea!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: