- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or vegetable oil
- 3 slices good-quality bacon, chopped
- 2 large ears corn, kernels scraped from the cob, or 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 small yellow or red onion, finely chopped
- 1 small Fresno chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 10-12 ounces lump crab meat, picked for shells
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 lemon, juiced
- A small handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth or a shot of dry sherry
- 1 cup whole milk
- Salt and black or white pepper
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 4 1-inch-thick slices brioche or challah bread
- About 2 cups Gruyère cheese, shredded
Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 375°F.
In a large skillet, heat the EVOO, one turn of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until lightly crisped, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the corn, celery, onion, chili pepper, garlic and thyme and cook for 5 minutes. Add the crab meat and Old Bay and heat through. Douse with the lemon juice, remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute, then whisk in the vermouth (or sherry). Whisk in the milk. Season with salt, a hint of pepper and the nutmeg. Turn off the heat.
Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and top with the crab mixture, béchamel sauce and cheese. Bake until the cheese is lightly golden, about 10 minutes.