Jackie Wright from Point Pleasant sent me this great recipe for an appealing appetizer. It is very good and can be enjoyed any time of year. It's especially good when you can get fresh local crabs from New Jersey.

I like to make this appetizer before a big meal with friends or family or for a get together on a long holiday weekend. If you plan to do that too, be warned, people will fight over it. Thanks, Jackie, for the recipe.

Ingredients:

16 oz. softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon shallots, grated
1 tablespoon onion, grated
2 teaspoons horseradish, freshly grated
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning, such as "Old Bay"
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 pound cooked crab meat, fresh or store bought pasteurized is fine too
½ pound salad shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
1 cup oyster crackers, finely crushed

How to put it together:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the cream cheese, sour cream and milk until smooth. Stir in all the other ingredients except the seafood and blend until smooth.

Very gently fold in the crab meat and shrimp and then pour into a buttered 2 qt. casserole dish. Bake covered for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and sprinkle the crushed oyster crackers over the top and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes. Serve hot with toasted baguette or French bread slices.

Note: If there’s any dip left it can be tossed with cooked pasta for a great dinner entree the next day. Serves 15-20.