Dungeness Crab Melts

Recipe courtesy of Chef Mandy Dixon

These sandwiches are delicious with a fresh garden salad or a cup of tomato soup.

This delicious garlic mayonnaise is a kitchen staple used in many recipes. Makes about 1 cup aioli
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp salt
1 large egg yolk, room
temperature (see note)
Juice of ½ lemon
1 cup pure olive oil (not extra virgin)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Place the garlic and salt into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse for 2 seconds. Add in the egg yolk and lemon juice, pulsing until the egg is frothy. While continuously running the processor, add in enough olive oil in a thin stream to make a thick mayonnaise consistency. Add in a few twists of black pepper if desired.
Note: If you're concerned about bacteria in raw eggs, use pasteurized whole eggs. Or make an egg-safe aioli: Omit the egg and oil, and use 1 cup mayonnaise instead.

Makes 4 open-face sandwiches

1 small leek, sliced lengthwise,
white and light green parts only
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
½ yellow onion, peeled, halved
and sliced
1 sprig thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups Dungeness crab lump meat
2 green onions, minced
4 Tbs Aioli (see recipe in sidebar)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices sourdough bread,
thickly sliced
2 cups shredded sharp
cheddar cheese
2 tsp chives, minced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the leek and ¼ cup of the butter in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Lightly poach the leeks for about 8 to 10 minutes. While the leeks are poaching, heat 1 Tbs of butter in a small sauté pan. Add in the yellow onion, thyme and garlic. Sauté the onion mixture over low heat until the onion is soft and caramelized. Set aside the leeks and onion mixture.

Drain the crabmeat of any excess liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, place the drained crab and pick through to remove any bits of crab shell or cartilage. Stir in the yellow onion mixture, leeks, green onions and just enough aioli to hold it all together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a medium sauté pan to medium heat and melt the remaining 3 Tbs of butter. Toast 4 slices of bread in the butter until golden brown. Turn off the heat, leaving the bread in the sauté pan. Place some of the cheese on top of each slice of the bread. Spoon some of the crabmeat onto the 4 slices of bread. Place the melts into the oven until cheese is just melted, and crab is warmed through, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Sprinkle with the minced chives.