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Ingredients for 8 servings:


6 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons brandy

1 teaspoon strained fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Crabmeat and Eggs:

4 ounces unsalted butter

1 pound fresh, frozen or canned crabmeat

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

8 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika



Sauce:  Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Heat the milk in a separate pan. Stir the flour into the butter with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes stirring.  Take off the heat for 3-4 minutes until the milk comes to a boil.  Pour the milk into the flour mixture and return to the heat stirring and cooking for 1 minute more.


Heat the brandy in a small pan and ignite it.  When the flame has died down, stir it in to the bechamel sauce along with the hot pepper and salt. Set aside.


Crabmeat:  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy skillet.  Drain the crabmeat and pick over it carefully removing any bits of shell or cartilage.  Stir the crabmeat into the warm butter stirring and coating and warming it.  Season it with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Scrape the seafood out into a 9-10" round oven-proof casserole.


Eggs: Fill a 9" skillet with 2" water and bring it to a simmer.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon vinegar.  Crack open each of the eggs  into a bowl and half-submerge it in the simmering water as you turn out the egg  allowing the  white to begin to set before releasing it into the skillet..  Cook until the yolks are set but still soft.  Transfer the eggs  to a shallow Pyrex pan filled with cold water to rinse and cool them.  Lift and drain them before distributing them over the crabmeat.


Assembly and Baking: Spoon the bechamel sauce over the eggs and generously cover the entire casserole.  Cut up the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and distribute it over the dish.  Sprinkle on the paprika.


Bake for 10 minutes, until the dish is bubbly and golden.  Serve from the dish immediately.


Do-Ahead: The dish can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated before baking for several hours or overnight.  Add 5 minutes to the baking time.