Cheesy, Crabby Breads: Fish Market’s Cheesy Garlic Bread with Crab


The last few months have had us deeply craving comfort foods. At home, Greg and I have been revisiting some of the foods we loved in childhood and sometimes remaking them a bit. From time to time, when we’ve gotten together with the friends in our Quarnteam, and brought them in some of their greatest hits as well. It’s been tasty fun and has been providing much-needed solace during these rough times.

Included in this comfort food hit parade we’ve had two decadent, yummy, cheesy breads. On top of that, Greg was having a bit of a crab fixation for a while there, so we ended up with crab variations of both of these dishes. You easily omit the crab from either if you prefer, and you’ll actually end up with the original versions, both of which are fantastic. Since the process of making of these two dishes is pretty similar, I’m going to share them here back to back. I made both using homemade sourdough bread using the No-Knead Bread recipe.

Greg took this pic of one of the recent loaves of the No-knead Sourdough bread I made. I often like to let a little char develop on top.

The first of these cheesy crab beads is inspired by two different dishes. Greg is from Del Mar just north of San Diego, and the Fish Market  is a family favorite spot. I think I probably went on my very first visit almost twenty years ago, and I think Greg has been going his whole life. Their cheesy garlic bread is kind of a signature item and I don’t think we’ve ever not ordered it. 

Fish Market's Cheesy Garlic Bread

Last year, we went down to Half Moon Bay for a weekend getaway and we found that a bunch of the restaurants in the area had really similar cheesy garlic breads on their menus, but with crab mixed in.

Here's a cheesy crab bread we had at the Flying Fish Grill in Half Moon Bay.

I found versions of the recipe on Food.com and Eatcookblog.com and I worked in some crab. In most of the versions, we had in Half Moon Bay, the crab was sprinkled on top at the end, but here I worked in the crab with cheese mixture – you can take your pick. It turns out the Fish Market (which has locations in Northern California as well) has a version with crab on the menu now too. Not sure if it’s always been on the menu and we’ve just never noticed, so we’re definitely not reinventing the wheel here, but it sure was tasty.

While this is really intended as an app, we made a meal out of it by including a salad on the side.


This recipe makes quite a lot of cheesy bread and we’re just two people, so we got to try a couple of different wines to pair alongside it. Both worked very well, but played to different elements of the dish.

I made this during Greg’s birthday week upon his request. Given that it was a celebration, I opened a baller wine to go with this recipe on the first night we had it – Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Chardonnay Medoza 2010 (Average price: $81, I believe the SRP at release was $100) – so this is a bit of a high-low pairing. I’d had this one in “the cellar” for quite a while, but it had held up well. (You can read more about Catena here.)

New World Chardonnay seemed like an ideal match for this dish given its richness. This one balanced a full body with lots of acidity, chalky minerality, and saline finish. This was a beautiful Chardonnay, and when we opened it up the minerality was upfront and center, but as it opened up and got air, it broadened to include lemon, gold and green apples, pear, and white peach.  A touch of vanilla on the nose became elegant cream and buttery pastry on the palate. It was opulent, yet refined. It played to the richness in the dish, but also refreshed the palate thanks to the acidity. Admittedly, this is a pricey bottle, but Chardonnay should generally make a good pairing with this dish, so reach for your favorite bottle.

Note: This bottle which was sent to me as a media sample. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

A couple of nights later we tried Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2018 (Average price: $15).  Verdicchio is an Italian grape native to the Marche region in Central Italy. (You can read more about the grape here  and more about Umani Ronchi here.) It showed notes of blanched almonds, mixed herbs, lemon, white peach, green apple, a little grapefruit zest, and stones, all of which were smoothed out by a lightly creamy texture.  It was medium-bodied and quite refreshing, as well.  This is not a pricey wine and also made a great match by matching the weight of the food, but also bringing out the herbal components in the dish. 

crab, garlic bread, cheese
By: Nicole Ruiz Hudson, Adapted from recipes on Food.com and Eatcookblog.com
Fish Market’s Cheesy Garlic Bread with Crab

Fish Market’s Cheesy Garlic Bread with Crab

Prep Time: 15 MinCooking Time: 10 MinTotal Time: 25 Min


  • 1 loaf sourdough bread
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (don’t use low-fat, it will not brown)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups Romano cheese, grated medium (Parmesan and Asiago will also work)
  • 16 oz lump crab meat
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
Garlic butter
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Romano sauce with crab
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (don’t use low-fat, it will not brown)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups Romano cheese, grated medium (Parmesan and Asiago will also work)
  • 16 oz crab meat
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F degrees.
  2. Prepare garlic butter by combining softened butter, parsley and garlic. Reserve.
  3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the Romano sauce by hand. Blend the mix to a smooth, paste-like consistency, but do not break up the cheese. Gently mix in the crab and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cut the loaf of bread in half lengthwise (horizontally) so that you are left with two long halves.
  5. Spread the garlic butter over the loaves on the non-crust side, then spread with the cheese mix.
  6. Bake on a baking sheet until golden brown. If the cheese on top needs extra browning, place under the broiler for a minute or two.
  7. Allow the bread to cool enough to handle, then cut into thin slices.
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Stay tuned, cheesy, crabby bread two is next.


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