1 leek, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and washed

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided

½ yellow onion, peeled,  halved and sliced 

1 sprig thyme

1 clove garlic, minced 

2 cups Dungeness lump crab meat

2 green onions, minced

4 tablespoons aioli, salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 slices sourdough bread, thickly sliced 

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 

2 teaspoons minced chives


  • Author: Kirsten Dixon


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the leek and 14 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 tablespoon 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.

Drain the crabmeat of any excess liquid. We often do this by wringing out the crab using moistened cheesecloth. In a medium mixing bowl, place the drained crab and pick through to remove any bones 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 1 Tbsp. 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 crab meat 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.

Makes 4 open-face sandwiches.